So far, 2019 has offered Texas both very cold and very mild conditions – a bit unpredictable as this new year advances. Perhaps this corresponds to the unexpected combination of elements at work as the legislative session gets underway? New leadership in the House has opened up new possibilities for cooperation on advancing public policy issues – a situation we welcome and look forward to as the Sunset process holds the promise of developing new guidance on matters of concern to our agency.
Our team is tracking all relevant bills filed, filing fiscal notes as requested, and preparing potential input for our policymakers to consider if we think a bill may have ramifications for the agency. We have not yet received a draft of our agency’s Sunset bill but we expect to see it soon, and certainly before the bill filing deadline in early March! In the meantime, we remain open to discussing any related approved topics or objectives as we respond to all inquiries from legislative offices.
This month we will be holding our quarterly meetings for both the Commission and the Board. TREC license holders may receive four hours of CE credit for attending the meeting on Monday, February 11th. This month we will be doing things a bit differently. Because of the extent of items suggested by the Sunset Commission, the TREC meeting is scheduled for two days, February 11-12. Several topics on the agenda have been formatted to encourage more of an open discussion of alternatives than is typical for our business meetings. And for the Appraiser Board, we will also be hosting a full day “workshop” on February 7, the day before our regular quarterly business meeting on February 8th. Both of these meetings have extensive agendas with important items to be considered. Tune into the meetings if you can, as they will be live-streamed as normal, accessible via a link on the Commission or Board’s website.
If you haven’t heard, we are hard at work on creating a new public facing “application tracker” tool for initial applicants for Sales Agent Licenses. A large volume of customer inquiries are requests for an update on the status of their application. We believe this new tool will offer a first stop opportunity to answer that question without a phone call. We are putting finishing touches on the design and will be working on testing for the next few weeks. We plan to have this new tool up and running on our website in early spring! Watch for the launch notice and a short video introduction of this additional service.
Speaking of great additions, in January we welcomed two new Division Directors to our team. Steve Rapp joined us as Director of Information & Technology Services, and Robert Hood accepted the position of Director of Reception & Communication Services. Steve comes to us from the State Library and Archives Commission and has significant experience with several licensing agencies as well, and specifically with the VERSA licensing database used by our agency. Robert joined us from the State Comptroller’s Office where he managed their customer contact center. He also managed a similar center at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Each is a seasoned professional and we welcome them to our team. We know their talents will provide us with some new skills that will propel even more rapid advances in our service to our customers. That is our commitment to you. Aim high!