Legislative Committee – The Legislative Committee moved its regularly scheduled May 12 meeting because Kathy Carlton was summoned to Austin by TAA to help lobby for the passage of the important SOI bill. The meeting was moved to a conference call on May 14th. See the attached minutes. The committee discussed several Dallas issues; the movement of TAA bills in the Legislature; and made PAC contribution decisions on the six open Dallas City Council races that have moved into the run-off phase.
The last meeting of the year will be a luncheon on Friday, June 19th at The Mercury restaurant.
Source of Income –What can I say…WE WON, WE WON, WE WON!
Thanks to the TAA staff and TAA President Mike Clark, they pulled out all the stops by inviting the Government Affairs staff from around the state to travel to Austin to lobby their individual representatives. GR staff made the trip to Austin a total of 3 times in 2 weeks and blanketed the offices of Republican House members, catching them walking the halls, or calling them off the House floor to reiterate our opposition regarding Source of Income as a protected class. Despite numerous delays and postponements, we finally got our day of debate on the House floor on Friday, May 22nd. There were several amendments that were attached upon second reading and TAA staff took until midnight to sort through what it all might mean. By the following day, supporters knew which amendments to endorse and which ones needed to be removed. The House passed it, then moved it to the Senate for concurrence. On May 28th, the Senate gave final approval to the bill by a vote of 19-12, mostly down party lines. Although the bill is safely on the Governor’s desk, TAA was hesitant to begin any celebrating until Governor Greg Abbott actually signs it into law, which he has until June 21 to do.
The bill will take effect September 1, which may prove a little sticky for members in Austin, where the local ordinance is still in effect. The only piece we had to compromise on was that a city has the option to mandate the acceptance of VASH (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) vouchers that are given to veterans. In this area, the VASH program is administered by the Dallas Housing Authority. When and if the City of Dallas adopts such an ordinance, we will work as the liaison to accomplish the goals. That said, the requirement in the Dallas Voluntary Compliance Agreement with HUD is DOA.
City Elections – The May 9th city council elections held a few surprises. As expected, voter turnout was low. Four of the six open seats have gone into a run-off. Carolyn Arnold won District 4 (Dwayne Caraway’s seat) in a relatively weak field of candidates by being the only candidate to side-step the Trinity Toll road question. The shocker was Mark Clayton winning outright in District 9 (Sheffie Kadane’s seat). Fortunately, he says he understands our support of his opponent and holds no grudges. Our make-up PAC check should help ease the pain.
The following candidates are embroiled in run-offs, which will be decided on June 13th. We have made sizable contributions in all races. AAGD supported candidates are in bold:
District 3 Casey Thomas vs. Joe Tave
District 7 Tiffinni Young vs. Kevin Felder
District 8 Erik Wilson vs. Dianne Gibson
District 10 Paul Reyes vs. Adam McGough
Since the election, we have scheduled lunches with Paul Reyes, Tiffinni Young, and Mark Clayton.
City of Carrollton Swimming Pool Ordinance – For over twenty years, the City of Carrollton has not seen the need to inspect or regulate swimming pools and spas within the city, which has always baffled us. Apparently a few recently reported cases of infectious disease and a change in the city attorney promoted them to adopt a very comprehensive ordinance. After conducting a survey of over 20 other municipalities in the area, they learned that they were one of a very few that did not regulate pools and spas. Typical of Carrollton, AAGD was not informed that the changes were coming, and only learned about them after the city had conducted a couple of training classes.
About 50% of the Carrollton properties have attended one of the two informational classes to learn about the new ordinance. If you did not attend, you may go to the city’s website to learn more. The city intends to conduct an inspection of each pool by the end of the summer. Things, you should know:
· There are very specific disinfectant levels that must be maintained in your pool or spa.
· Testing and recording of the disinfectant levels must be conducted at least once every two hours.
· Systems that use an automatically control disinfectant and pH must only be tested two times per day.
· The temperature must be checked and recorded every two hours.
· Every pool and spa must be under the supervision of a certified pool operator, and their name and contact number must be prominently posted.
· You must have a sign that states that “Children under age thirteen should not use swimming pool without an adult in attendance.”
· You may not have the water temperature in a spa higher than 104 degrees, and must have a sign posted advising users.
· You must provide water from a drinking fountain at each pool.
· You must have signage that notifies users of animals, contagious diseases, and where to change diapers!
· There have been health permit fees established at a rate of $100 for the first pool, and $50 for each additional pool or spa. Interestingly, the fee for an IWFF (Interactive Water Feature and Fountain) is $150.
If you have a person on staff that you would like to have designated as the CPO (certified pool operator), they will need to take a 2-day course, at a cost of approximately $240. This is a much more comprehensive course than the MPO (manager of pool operations) course that the City of Dallas has been requiring for years. Information about where you can take these classes is available on the city website.