this just in - happy dance time!
There has been a lot flying around the ether. Hopefully this will help everyone understand where we are with this thing. First, thanks to all who have called in with your concerns. Your voice is being heard. Legislative offices all over Austin are inundated with calls about this bill from all over the country and all industries.
Since finding out about this yesterday we have been working very hard to get to the problem and the solution. We have several members of our Board of Trustees who have political connections. They have contacted the sponsors of the bill and have spoken directly with the legislators themselves (not staffers). The Bill’s sponsors never intended to have the performing arts impacted by this legislation. This was, as someone said earlier today, intended to be a consumer protection bill, which is needed in an area with a high possibility of natural disasters (tornados, hurricanes). The bill’s sponsors were also upset with the amendment language added yesterday in the senate. While the bill is in conference they are going to try to protect the performing arts, churches etc. Barring that, State Senator Bob Deuell (the bills senate sponsor) sent us an email this afternoon saying:
“Now I am 100% positive the lighting design industry is safe. The Governor's office called this morning and said Governor Perry will veto the entire bill if that language remains in HB 2649. Consider it done. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this language will be removed from this bill.”
Sen. Deuell’s office as well as other offices in Austin have been inundated with calls about this. As I have said, it was never their intent to impact our industry. We will keep you all updated but we are feeling that the crisis has past. We have already started planning on meeting with legislators after the current session has concluded to make sure they understand our needs and keep them in mind while formulating the next piece of legislation.
Again, thanks to all who have called in. Hopefully by this time tomorrow this will be one more bizarre incident in the history of Texas State politics ( which is storied indeed). Hope this helps.