Agenda is subject to change. Please check back regularly for updates.
The Hilton Austin Hotel is located at 500 E 4th St, Austin, TX 78701.

Day 1: Wednesday, January 9, 2019

10:30 AM Registration Opens

12:00 - 1:15 PM Opening Keynote Luncheon with Attorney General Ken Paxton

1:30 - 2:45 PM Concurrent Panel Session I

  • Parenting in Freedom or Fear*

    • Despite Texans fierce independent streak, raising children with limited parental supervision to encourage independence has become controversial. Can Texas parents grant their children freedom without running afoul of the law? How can lawmakers protect parental rights, while also ensuring child welfare?  

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Lenore Skenazy - President, Let Grow and Founder, Free-Range Kids

      • Corey Widen - Parent

      • Trevor Woodruff - Deputy Commissioner, Department of Family & Protective Services

  • The School Finance Commission Report is Out! What’s Next?*

    • The School Finance Commission has finally spoken and experts on both sides have examined the recommendations. Find out how the proposal came together and which ones the Texas Legislature are likely to consider, pass, or ignore. 

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Larry Taylor - Chair, Texas State Senate Committee on Education

      • Sagar Desai - Chief Operating Officer, Commit Partnership

      • Scott Brister - Chair, Texas Commission on Public School Finance

      • Dan Huberty – Chair, Texas House Committee on Public Education

  • Priced Out of House and Home: Texas’ Affordability Crisis*

    • Home prices are outpacing Texans’ ability to pay. To what extent, if any, do local government taxes, fees and regulations contribute to the housing affordability problem, and what is the proper role of the Texas Legislature in addressing this problem? 

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Bill Hammond (Moderator) - CEO, Bill Hammond and Associates

      • Emily Hamilton - Research Fellow, Mercatus Center at George Mason University

      • Travis Mitchell - Mayor, City of Kyle, Texas

      • Geoffrey Tahuahua - Vice President of Policy & Government Affairs, Real Estate Council of Austin

      • Lourdes Castro-Ramirez - President, University Health System Foundation

3:00 - 4:15 PM Concurrent Panel Session II

  • First Amendment U: Will Texas Act to Protect Free Speech on Campus?*

    • Universities are becoming ground zero for speech suppression rather than promoters of free expression and competing ideas. What role, if any, does the state government have in protecting free speech on college campuses? 

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Stanley Kurtz - Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center, DC

      • Kel Seliger - Chair, Texas Senate Committee on Higher Education

      • Marcus Fotenos - Director of DC Relations, Turning Point USA

  • The Price of Safety: Can Justice Be Cost-Effective?

    • From police to prosecutors, from jails to judges, the state’s criminal justice system costs Texans over $16 billion in state and local taxes each year.  This panel will discuss outcomes, areas of inefficiency, and opportunities for improvement facing the 86th Legislature.

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • John Whitmire - Dean, Texas Senate / Chair, Senate Committee on Criminal Justice

      • James White - Chair, Texas House Committee on Corrections

      • Jake Horowitz - Director, Public Safety Performance Project, The Pew Charitable Trusts

  • Does NAFTA Support Prosperity in Texas?*

    • Texas leads the nation in economic growth and international trade. Were Texas a country, it would have the world’s 10th-largest economy—a ranking achieved in no small part by the state’s deep involvement in international trade. Local, national, and international trade provide the ability for more extensive specialization, and each is an important component of Texas’ economy.

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Leila Afas - Director, International Trade Policy, Toyota

      • Matt Shaheen - Texas State Representative, Texas House of Representatives

      • Doug McCullough - Director, Lone Star Policy Institute

      • Glenn Hegar - Texas Comptroller

4:30 - 5:30 PM Plenary Session with Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick

Day 2: Thursday, January 10, 2019

7:00 AM Registration Opens

8:00 - 9:15 AM Keynote Breakfast with Speaker Dennis Bonnen

9:30 - 10:45 AM Concurrent Panel Session III

  • The Nurse Practitioner Will See You Now: Can Empowering APRNs Save Lives?

    • There is both an absolute shortage of doctors in Texas as well as maldistribution: five times as many MDs in Dallas as in Hidalgo County. Can APRNs provide safe and effective care where none is available? 

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Donna Howard - Texas State Representative, Texas House of Representatives

      • Holly Jeffreys - DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, Family Care Clinic

      • Anne Dunkelberg - Associate Director and Health and Wellness Program Director, Center for Public Policy Priorities

      • Gerald R. Callas, M.D., FASA - President, Texas Society of Anesthesiologists

  • Closer to Home: Can Communities Better Serve Families and Children?

    • The 86th Legislature transformed the state’s broken child protective services system by increasing the role of local communities and non-profits in serving families and caring for children. What is the status of implementing these changes and are children better off? 

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Katie Olse - Executive Director, Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services

      • Annette Rodriguez - President/CEO, The Children's Shelter

      • James Frank - Texas State Representative, Texas House of Representatives

      • Will Francis - Government Relations Director, National Association of Social Workers - Texas Chapter

  • To Protect and Serve: Policing Reform in a Challenging Era

    • In a world where the media narrative is dominated by the anti-police Left, it is more important than even to have a calm, rational conversation on the policies that bring about better safety for the public and for police officers.  How can law enforcement veterans and experts improve policing through improvements to training, standards, and deployment?

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Randy Petersen - Senior Researcher, Texas Public Policy Foundation

      • Mike Hughes - Criminal Justice Instructor, Hill College

      • Phil King - Chair, Texas House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety

11:00 - 12:15 PM Concurrent Panel Session IV

  • City Limits: What is ETJ Good For?*

    • The State of Texas granted cities the power the regulate outside their corporate boundaries in a designated extra-territorial jurisdiction (“ETJ”) as part of the Municipal Annexation Reform Act of 1963. Under that framework, cities could regulate in the ETJ in anticipation of their future unilateral, forced annexation of the area, without gaining consent from residents. With the passage of the Texas Annexation Right to Vote Act in 2017, forced annexation no longer holds for much of the state. Given the new annexation paradigm, what is the proper scope of city power in the ETJ?

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Mike Schofield - Former State Representative, Texas House of Representatives

      • Matthew Festa - Professor of Law, South Texas College of Law Houston

      • Bill Fulton - Director, Kinder Institute

      • Terry Wilson - Texas State Representative, Texas House of Representatives

  • TRS SOS: Solving the Teacher Retirement System Crisis

    • The Texas Teacher Retirement System has had massive debts for years and there is growing concern the system is moving toward insolvency. There are good options the Texas Legislature can pursue to fix the system, but they all require hard choices.  Which path will policymakers take, or will they put it off?

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Joan Huffman - Chair, Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs

      • Monty Exter - Lobbyist, The Association of Texas Professional Educators

      • Leonard Gilroy - Senior Managing Director, Pension Integrity Project, Reason Foundation

      • Josh McGee - Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute

  • From Outreach to Engagement: Turning Relationships Into Reform

    • Obtaining and maintaining public support for policy issues is crucial for legislative progress.  This panel will demystify the difference between outreach and engagement and explain how to do each successfully. No matter your issue, winning public support is key to winning policy reform.

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Jorge Martinez - Texas Coalitions Director, The LIBRE Initiative

      • JoAnn Fleming - Executive Director, Grassroots America

      • Rasuali W. Bray – SE Texas Deputy Regional Director, Senator Ted Cruz

12:30 - 1:45 PM Keynote Luncheon with Dennis Prager

2:00 - 3:15 PM Concurrent Panel Session V

  • Frogs or Freedom: Are New Limitations Coming for the Endangered Species Act?*

    • The Department of the Interior has proposed the first substantive regulatory reform of the Endangered Species Act in decades. This panel will discuss the merits of the proposed reforms in light of the United States Supreme Court’s Weyerhauser case reviewing the ESA for the first time in decades.

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Brooke Wahlberg – Partner, Nossaman LLP

      • Melinda Taylor - Senior Lecturer, University of Texas School of Law

      • Ryan Walters – Attorney, Center for American Future, Texas Public Policy Foundation

  • Reversing Course: Can Better Options Save Texas Education?

    • Despite ample evidence across the country that school choice improves outcomes for both kids who use the program and those who stay in their assigned schools, Texas continues to limit options for students in failing schools. As the trend for student achievement continues to worsen, will lawmakers finally give parents and students the power to determine the best educational experience that works for them? 

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Emily Pataki - Student Parent/Charter School Advocate, Founders Classical Academy

      • Lisa Zapalac - Co-Owner, Long-View Micro School

      • Matt Ladner - Senior Advisor for Policy and Research, Foundation for Excellence in Education

      • Ezzard Castillo - Executive Director/Administrator, River City Christian School

  • The Magic Pill: Can Medicaid Be Both High Quality and Low Cost?

    • Medicaid fails patients and costs are out of control. Fortunately, reform is so needed that it is no longer one of the third rails of politics. What will policymakers do with this new opportunity to serve families and patients, and can states play a more prominent role in experimenting with reforms?

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Dr. James Pinckney - Diamond Physicians

      • Craig Callewart, M.D. - Orthopedic Spinal Surgeon / TMA Liaison

      • Stephanie Muth - State Medicaid Director, Texas Health and Human Services Commission

      • Greg Bonnen, M.D. - Texas State Representative, Texas House of Representatives

      • Jamie Dudensing - CEO, Texas Association of Health Plans

3:30-4:45PM Concurrent Panel Session VI

  • Tending to Spending: Can Texas Make Fiscal Restraint the Law of the Land?

    • Texas has remarkably proven for two consecutive sessions it can responsibly restrain spending. Is now the time to make it the law of the land? This important debate could determine if Texas continue to prosper or begins to decline.

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Mike Schofield - Former State Representative, Texas House of Representatives

      • Jeff Leach - Texas State Representative, Texas House of Representatives

      • Joaquin Guadarrama – Deputy Budget Director, Office of the Lieutenant Governor

      • Yvonne Davis - Texas State Representative, Texas House of Representative

  • Keeping the Lights On: Energy Reliability and Renewable Subsidies*

    • Access to affordable and reliable energy has helped create the wealthiest, healthiest, and safest society in the world. As calls for Texas and the U.S. to move to less reliable energy sources like wind and solar continue to grow, how will it impact our economy, security, and the daily lives of all Americans?

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Kelly Hancock - Chair, Texas Senate Committee on Business & Commerce

      • Brian Lloyd - Regulatory Strategy, Sempra Energy

      • James Frank - Representative, Texas House of Representatives

      • Cricia Ryan – Wharton County Against Wind Farms

  • Can We Get Some Relief: Lifting the Property Tax Burden

    • Perhaps no issue unites Texans across the state like the need to reduce property taxes. But any property tax reform will have consequences that affect how we fund education, pay for roads, grow our economy, improve access to health care, and more.  Experts and policymakers take on this critical question and look for solutions in the 86th Legislature. 

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Dr. John Diamond - Director of the Center for Public Finance and Kelly Fellow in Public Finance, Rice University's Baker Institute

      • Drew Springer - Texas State Representative, Texas House of Representatives

      • Paul Bettencourt - Chair, Texas Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform

      • B. "Glen" Whitley - Judge, Tarrant County

Day 3: Friday, January 11, 2019

7:30AM Registation Opens

8:00-9:15AM Keynote Breakfast with Grover Norquist

9:30-10:45AM Concurrent Panel Session VII

  • Have Cities Gone Too Far: Mandatory Paid Sick Leave or Local Liberty*

    • As organizations like TPPF challenge local ordinances that appear to violate state law, such as Austin’s mandatory paid sick leave, the state legislature is looking to broaden preemption legislation to prevent local government from micromanaging private employers.  This panel looks at the collision of state and local interests and the consequences for the people caught between them.  

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Jon Riches - Director of National Litigation, Goldwater Institute

      • Donna Campbell, M.D. - Chair, Texas Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs & Border Security

      • Rob Henneke - Director, Center for the American Future, Texas Public Policy Foundation

  • Show Me the Money: The Fight Over Future Budget Priorities

    • How much money does Texas have and what will it do with it? It’s perhaps the most important question the legislature deals with each session – and it all starts with deciding on the state’s priorities. TPPF convenes the important voices who will help answer that question in 2019. 

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Lois Kolkhorst - Chair, Texas Senate Committee on Administration

      • Dr. John Zerwas - Chair, Texas House Committee on Appropriations

      • John Whitmire - Dean, Texas Senate / Chair, Senate Committee on Criminal Justice

      • Donna Howard - Texas State Representative, Texas House of Representatives

  • Making the Grade: How High-Poverty School Districts and Charters are Beating the Odds

    • Each session, policymakers promise to improve K-12 education. But where do we look for successful models?  Can the new A-F Accountability System, which has shown that even high-poverty schools can thrive, be an important tool to identify successful examples of school achievement?

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Penny Schwinn - Chief Deputy Commissioner of Academics, Texas Education Agency

      • Dr. Luzelma Canales - Senior Vice President for Student Success, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

      • Pedro Martinez - Superintendent, San Antonio Independent School District

      • Tom Torkelson - Chief Executive Officer, IDEA Public Schools

11:00AM- 12:15PM Concurrent Panel Session VIII

  • Middle-Skills in High Demand: Prepping Students to Close the Gap

    • The “college-for-all” vision, which began in the 1970s, has yielded less-than-stellar results: It has led to a negative popular view of “blue-collar” employment. At the same time, at least a third of students who enter a four-year college never graduate. Middle-skills employers are crying out for job applicants. What can be done at the K-12 level to provide students the training to pursue middle-skills certificates?

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • John Koufos - National Director of Reentry Initiatives, Right on Crime

      • Michael Reeser - Chancellor and CEO, Texas State Technical College System

      • Joe Arnold - Senior Manager, Government Affairs, BASF

      • Brad Bailey – Vice President, Government Relations & External Affairs, S & B Engineers & Constructors, Ltd.

  • The New Global Reality of American Energy Security and Environmental Leadership

    • With its new-found leadership in the production of oil and gas and continued dominance of global coal reserves, the United States has established energy security while maintaining some of the cleanest air in the world. How will this new energy and environmental leadership be recognized by domestic and global policy leaders and how will the geopolitical benefits of this new reality be leveraged for the eradication of energy poverty, improvement of global health, and betterment for all Americans?

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Jason Isaac – Senior Manager & Distinguished Fellow, Life:Powered, Texas Public Policy Foundation

      • Dr. Ken Morgan - Retired Director, TCU Energy Institute

  • The Making of a Criminal: Right-Sizing Power in the Criminal Justice System*

    • While everyone knows what a “crime” is, very few understand how they are created and adjudicated.  This panel will cover the issues before the 86th Legislature, like how crimes are legislatively or administratively created, the overcriminalization of everyday activity, how grand jury indictments are achieved, and how criminal penalties are ultimately adjudicated.

    • Confirmed Panelists:

      • Matt Krause - Texas State Representative, Texas House of Representatives, HD93

      • Shannon Edmonds - Director of Governmental Relations, Texas District and County Attorneys Association

      • Jeff Leach - Texas State Representative, Texas House of Representatives

      • Vikrant Reddy - Senior Fellow, Charles Koch Institute

12:30-1:45PM Closing Keynote Luncheon with Senator John Cornyn and Senator Ted Cruz

*Continuing Legal Education Accredited Panel - In order to receive CLE accreditation for this panel, please fill out the sign-in sheet located at the entrance of the room. This is the only way to receive CLE credit for this panel.