Fort Worth Representative Charlie Geren is making waves in the state capitol for his proposed constitutional amendment to legalize casinos in Texas, which includes two casinos in the Fort Worth-Dallas area. Mayor Mattie Parker has given her support to Geren, stating that casinos could boost the economy if developed properly. This proposal was presented during Tarrant County Day, a two-day trip that provided an opportunity for local government officials and business leaders to engage in discussions with elected representatives and lobby for their home-district priorities.
The event brought together several high-growth cities in Tarrant County, including Arlington, North Richland Hills, Bedford and Keller, to strengthen ties with local representatives. Meanwhile, the State Affairs Committee heard testimony on gambling legislation, including Geren’s proposal, and a companion implementing bill as well as measures to allow sports betting in Texas. However, the committee took no votes, leaving the measures pending.
Apart from gambling measures, Tarrant Day visitors had concerns about a controversial bill by Republican Representative Dustin Burrows, titled the Texas Regulatory Consistency Act. The bill aims to rein in what supporters see as a confusing patchwork of local regulations that exceed state authority. However, Democratic Representative Nicole Collier stated that the bill threatens the authority of local governments. The mayor disagreed, saying that the fears surrounding the bill are unwarranted.
The event allowed small business operators to lobby for their interests as well. Brooke Goggans, Co-Founder of Mosaic Strategy Partners, a strategic communications and public affairs firm, hoped to come away with an expanded education to better serve her clients. Kenya Mobley, who started the On Track Truck Driving School in Arlington, used the opportunity to meet with elected officials who could impact her business and daily life.
The event has been a high profile gathering during legislative sessions and this year, it was held alongside Denton County Day and Realtors Day. Corporate giants such as American Airlines, Lockheed Martin, BNSF Railway, Fidelity Investments and Oncor were in attendance, as well as executives from numerous chambers of commerce in Tarrant County. The trip was an opportunity for local officials to push their home-district priorities on a high-profile platform and understand the challenges lawmakers face in the state capitol.