• December 19, 2014

Vision XXI learns about government

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Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014 4:30 am

Members of the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce’s Vision XXI Leadership Class spent the day learning about government June 6.

Special guest presenters were Eric Glenn, a Texas lobbyist with the Schlueter Group in Austin, state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, and Troy Costa, municipal court judge for the city of Harker Heights.

The major issues dealt with by lobbyists working for legislators in Texas are education, transportation and water.

“The issues haven’t changed in 30 years,” Glenn said.

Glenn has been involved in the legislative process since 1984. He focuses on legislative procedures in addition to parliamentary rules and procedures.

The Schlueter Group provides consulting services for legislative and regulatory representation in Texas. Their experience is in introduction, management and passage of landmark and high profile legislation.

Aycock’s discussion centered on House Bill 5 and the issue of public school testing.

“The current concern is that 25 percent of junior students taking the required end-of-course tests are off track to graduate from high school next year,” Aycock said.

The legislature is attempting to add a community piece to education law that would bring school boards and parents together to have meaningful discussions about what parents expect of their schools.

“STARR testing at the high school level will stay the same for quite some time,” Aycock said.

At the conclusion of the day, the class traveled to City Hall and met with Costa.

He told the group his court handles about 9,000 new cases a year. In 2013, 1,000 warrants were issued and $1.3 million was collected. Two thirds of that money stays with the city, with the rest going to the state.

“I handle my cases here with more time for discussion,” he said about the municipal court being designed to provide a meaningful opportunity for a person to be heard. “In superior courts, there are attorneys presenting the cases and they follow strict rules.”

The next meeting of the Vision XXI class is July 11.

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