AGC Texas Building Branch 2017 Convention
Legislative updates ~ Outstanding Construction Awards ~ Safety Awards
Thank you to all AGC Texas Building Branch members, staff and guest speakers for making last month's annual convention such a success and enjoyable time. We hope to see you all again next year. Until then, please enjoy this convention recap put together by Catherine Bezman, AGC Houston senior director of communications and marketing, and Aubry Malis, TEXO marketing and communications coordinator.

Convention Roundup...
Planning the future of AGC Texas Building Branch

AGC Texas Building Branch Chairman Paul Waldrop paid tribute to Mike Chatron, AGC-TBB president, who will be retiring at the end of 2018. Waldrop thanked him for his contributions to the construction industry during his 25 years of service to AGC TBB. Prior to briefing the attendees on the upcoming AGC TBB Strategic Planning Session, Pat Kiley, FMI Corporation, also recognized Chatron's service and thanked him for his dedication.

Kiley elaborated on TBB leading a strategic planning committee in order to focus on the future of the organization and finding the next leader. "Every organization looks back at its foundation and the good leaders to see how it will move forward. We need to focus on our history, what we have done, what we have accomplished, and what we have learned in order to develop a good strategy for the future." This session served as an open forum to discuss strengths and weaknesses of the organization and how it promotes, protects and defends AGC TBB's core values. 

Legislative Panel with Senator Bryan Hughes & Representative Sarah Davis

Sen. Bryan Hughes and Rep. Sarah Davis discussed how they got into state government, their relationship with AGC Texas Building Branch, their campaign process, and working with lawmakers in Austin. They led an engaging discussion about the atmosphere of the Legislature during the 2017 session.

Rep. Sarah Davis was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2010, and served on the Public Health and Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence committees. Her subsequent re-election in 2012 saw an increase in responsibility in committee assignments. She served on the Public Health, Calendars, and Appropriations committees. Currently she is co-chair of the Select Committee to Determine a Sufficient Balance of the Economic Stabilization Fund, chair of the Appropriations Sub-Committee on Budget Transparency and Reform, and serves on Appropriations, Public Health, Mental Health, Calendars, and General Investigating and Ethics committees. She served as the Conference Committee Chair of Article II Health and Human Services for the 2016-2017 budget cycle.

Senator Bryan Hughes is serving his first term in the Texas Senate, representing the 16 counties and approximately 850,000 people of Senate District One in Northeast Texas. Previously, he represented District Five in the Texas House of Representatives for seven terms. Born and raised in East Texas, Bryan attended Tyler Junior College and the University of Texas at Tyler, receiving his BBA in Economics, cum laude, in 1992. He went on to Baylor University School of Law, where he received his law degree in 1995. Bryan then served as law clerk to US District Judge William Steger of Tyler from 1995-1997. 

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Construction Defects & Right to Cure Bill Updates and Future

Curt Martin of Peckar & Abramson, PC briefed the AGC Texas Building Branch attendees on the new proposed House Bill 2343 which concerns the right to repair construction defects and the value Rep. Paul Workman brought to the House Business and Industry Committee in defending it.

Two years ago, AGC-TBB reached out to Martin to review construction defect claims processes and how to resolve the Right to Repair Statute. He analyzed 34 different bills in 34 different states, looking for simpler schemes in the process. He noted, "We chose to pattern this proposed new statute on the condominium bill that passed a few years ago. The condo bill was written in simpler language and we modified it to include emergency repairs."

Modernization of Texas Lien Law - A Closer Look 

"We have a bad lien law system that cannot be fixed", stated Robert Bass, Winstead PC, who educated attendees on the updates of House Bill 3065 - Texas Lien Law Modernization. He gave a brief history on the work AGC TBB has done since 2011.

"After the 2013 legislative session, AGC Texas Building Branch, Texas Contractors Association, and the Associated Building Contractors got together and appointed a working group composed of attorneys to study how to resolve the issues", Bass added.

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Legislative Panel with Reps. Paul Workman and John Cyrier

State Reps. Paul Workman (R-Austin) and John Cyrier (R-Lockhart) gave AGC members a recap of their work in Austin last session, highlighted the 85th Legislature and the acrimonious environment that was dubbed the most contentious one in ten years. AGC-TBB Vice President Corbin Van Arsdale moderated the discussion and underscored the vital work they did on behalf of the members and chapters.

Rep. Workman said this session led to a lot of in-fighting between the Democratic and Republican parties. A lot of the tension was caused by party polarization in both the House and Senate. This led to a very hostile session that made it even more difficult to pass bills, according to Workman. He added that media and social media contributed to the disparity in the process of getting certain bills passed.

Rep. Cyrier added, "This was my first session as a representative, and it was very eye-opening into the difficult process of getting a bill passed. You don't understand the hurdles it takes to get a bill through the committee process until you are actually fighting for the bill." Other representatives view AGC as "straight shooters with honest answers" and a go-to organization when looking for clarity on issues related to the construction industry, he said.

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