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August 1, 2020      10:30 AM

A realistic view of what a legislative session could look like during a pandemic

After lengthy conversations with insiders, Texas Capitol veteran Jon Fisher takes an in-depth look at what a session might really be like come January: Professional advocates whose stock-in-trade is hard work and research may have the upper hand while those who rely on entertainment may be at a distinct disadvantage

One thing on which everyone agrees is that anyone planning to work the 87th Legislature needs to be preparing for an entirely different environment.

What will it actually look like?

Of course, it is too soon to know for sure, but we recently asked some experienced veterans to help us understand how this could really unfold. What happens in the future, naturally, is based on ever-changing conditions. Remember, the Texas Capitol is not even open right now.

Speculation began in earnest when Texas House parliamentarians released a memo on July 16 outlining how interim studies could proceed under House rules without formal public hearings. That will not be the issue in January, when both chambers will have the chance to rewrite their rules.

Texas House leadership is currently surveying members to determine what the existing membership believes would be the best way to handle business next session. Those results are not in yet.

House sources are telling us that they are preparing for a hugely different environment and that those who have incorporated flexibility and innovation into their lobbying plans will have the advantage.

There are a few common themes in those preparations.

By Jon Fisher

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