Featured: Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, on Thursday, March 12, 2020, during the United States-Mexico Binational Bridges and Border Crossings Group, East Regional Meeting, held at the Pharr Events Center. Seventy-six percent of Pharr, 70 percent of Mission, and 25 percent of McAllen, along with all or portions of several other cities, are in Muñoz House District 36.
Photograph By PETER SALINAS
Legislative lobby contract by McGuireWoods Consulting, LLC of Austin up again on Monday, July 13 before McAllen City Commission
The McAllen City Commission on Monday, July 13, 2020, is again scheduled to consider a proposed one-year, $60,000 annual contract renewal with McGuireWoods Consulting, LLC of Austin to serve as the city’s lobbyist before the Texas Legislature and other key state leaders, including the governor, lt. governor, and top elected and appointed officials with key state agencies, boards, and commissions.
City Manager Roy Rodríguez is recommending approval of the legislative lobbying plan, which was tabled during the city commission’s last meeting on Monday, June 22, 2019.
As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the related state restrictions on public gatherings of more than 10 individuals, the McAllen City Commission will be televised live on Spectrum Cable Channel 1300 and on the city’s website, while the unedited videotape of that gathering will also be available on the city’s website.
Viewers may access the live broadcast of the city commission meeting, which begins at 5 p.m., at:
The videotaped and unedited versions of McAllen City Commission meetings also are available on the Internet at:
Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, and Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, have the majority of McAllen residents in their respective legislative districts: 69 percent of McAllen residents live in Guerra’s House District 41, while 25 percent are in Muñoz’ House District 36. Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, and Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, have the remainder of McAllen residents in their respective House District 35 and House District 40.
Senate District 20, which is represented by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, has 90 percent of McAllen’s residents, while Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, has 10 percent of McAllen residents in his Senate District 27.
According to the minutes of that session, the McAllen City Commission discussed the proposal, followed by comments and concerns, including questions relating to justifying the contract, and requesting more details about what McGuireWoods Consulting, LLC has done in the past year for McAllen.
During the Monday, June 22, 2020 meeting, City Commissioner Tania Ramírez moved to table the proposal until a later date and place it at a later date for a workshop. Commissioner Joquin Zamora seconded her motion, which was unanimously approved. In her motion, Ramírez also extended by one month the contract with McGuireWoods Consulting.
At last month’s meeting, the city manager also said representatives with McGuireWoods Consulting were prepared to be at that public session, but Rodríguez told them their presence was not necessary for that meeting.
The McGuireWoods Consulting proposal, which features a set monthly fee of $5,000 (five thousand) per month, if approved by the city’s elected leadership would have gone into effect on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, and end on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 – a period which includes the 140-day regular session of the upcoming 87th Texas Legislature.
The Texas Legislature returns to work at the Texas Capitol in Austin for its five-month regular session, which begins on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 and ends on Monday, May 31, 2021.
The firm’s proposal, which was submitted by Amber Hausenfluck, Senior Vice President, State Government Relations, was part of the city commission’s Monday, June 22, 2020 meeting that included a joint session with the McAllen Public Utility Board.
A little more than a year ago, on Monday, July 8, 2019, that firm provided a 23-page “End of Session Report” for the 86th Texas Legislature, which had concluded its five-month regular session on Monday, May 27, 2019.
The report was divided into 15 categories with key highlights of actions and other information deemed important by McGuireWoods Consulting for the McAllen City Commission and the general public.
Those categories were:
86th Texas Legislature by the Numbers;
What Passed – Big Issues;
Senate Bill 2 – The Texas Property Tax Reform & Transparency Act;
House Bill 3 – School Finance Reform, Property Tax Compression & “Robing Hood” Relief;
Budget – 2020-21 Biennium;
Budget – City Related Line Items;
Budget – Direct Impact Funding;
RGV Delegation Bills of Interest;
Municipal Bills That Passed;
Municipal Bills That Did Not Pass;
Vetoes of Interest;
Looking Ahead – Elections;
Supreme Court Rulings; and
Looking Ahead – Next Session (2021).
The report’s reference to the Rio Grande Valley state legislative delegation included the following highlights of bills which became state law:
House Bill 71 by Rep. Armando Martínez, D-Weslaco/Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, which creates
a regional transit authority among Hidalgo, Cameron, and Willacy counties
House Bill 81 by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg/Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, which requires disclosure of certain information related to parades, concerts, or other entertainment events that are paid for with public funds.
House Bill 2155 by Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen/Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, which creates a grant program to reduce wait times for agricultural inspections of vehicles at ports of entry along the Texas-Mexico border.
House Bill2840 by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg/Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Houston, and Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, which B 2840 Canales provides that public comment at government meetings come before or during the consideration of each item on the meeting agenda.
Senate Bill 2137 by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen/Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, which allows
for the City of Edinburg to use the municipal hotel occupancy tax revenue to pay for “related infrastructure” surrounding the sporting related facilities.
Senate Bill 2552 by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen/Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, which provides changes to the governing provisions of the Agua Special Utility District.
Senate Bill 1312 by Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville/Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, which creates certain programs to prevent vector-borne and zoonotic diseases in border counties.
The “End of Session Report” for the 86th Texas Legislature produced for the City of McAllen is available online at:
The Monday, July 13, 2020 agenda packet includes the same two-page proposal by McGuireWoods Consulting that was first presented before the McAllen City Commission on Monday, June 22, 2019.
The proposal does not identify the city’s state legislative agenda by subject, although Mayor Jim Darling, during the city commission public meetings, usually provides detailed updates on what the city leadership is doing on behalf of its constituents in the Texas Legislature and on statewide matters that affect the community.
Founded in 1998, McGuireWoods Consulting LLC is a full-service public affairs firm offering federal, state, and local government relations, infrastructure and economic development, strategic communications, and grassroots mobilization services, according to its website. McGuireWoods Consulting is a subsidiary of the McGuireWoods law firm, and since 2010, has been ranked in the top 20 among the 1,900 government relations firms in Washington, D.C. by The National Law Journal.
The proposal follows:
June 12, 2020
Mr. Roy Rodríguez
City of McAllen
1300 Houston Avenue
McAllen, Texas 78501
Dear Mr. Rodríguez:
Thank you for the opportunity to continue representing the City of McAllen. This letter constitutes the proposal of McGuireWoods Consulting, LLC (“MWC”) to serve as your Texas government relations team. The following letter sets forth confirmation, with your approval on behalf of the City of McAllen, of our agreement.
MWC will provide state government relations services, including but not limited to advice and representation on a variety of legislative, executive branch and agency matters, to the City of McAllen for a fixed monthly fee of $5,000 per month. These services will begin July 1, 2020, and will conclude June 30, 2021, unless terminated by either party for any reason upon thirty (30) days’ written notice to the other party’s designated representative.
In addition to the monthly fee, the City of McAllen will be responsible for travel expenses MWC incurs in providing services under this agreement. Any secretarial or other administrative overtime expenses will be included in the fixed rate and will not be charged to the city.
All discussions between representatives of your organization and MWC staff and the nature of our relationship will be kept confidential unless permission is expressly given by you or our representatives to disclose such information. Such confidentiality shall survive the termination or expiration of this agreement.
We will provide a summary bill for the fees. For any bill not paid within sixty (60) days after it is rendered, McGuireWoods Consulting LLC reserves the right to impose a late charge of one-half percent (1.5%) per month from the date it is rendered. All bills will be in a summary form showing in general terms the services rendered.
We wish to reiterate the MWC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of McGuireWoods LLP, a full-service law firm serving clients throughout the United States and around the world (“McGuireWoods law firm”). From time to time various lawyers at the McGuireWoods law firm provide non-legal services to MWC clients, but MWC doesn’t provide legal services or advice, nor does this agreement include the provision of legal services by McGuireWoods law firm or give rise to an attorney-client relationship privilege unless you hire the law firm to provide legal services. If legal services are desired, a separate engagement with the McGuireWoods law firm may be established; it is not necessary for a client to engage the McGuireWoods last firm in order to obtain MWC’s services or vice versa. By executing this agreement, you acknowledge that you are not represented by McGuireWoods law firm and you consentto the McGuireWoods law firm’s representation of other persons and entities on legal matters, including litigation, that may adversely affect your interests, directly or indirectly, but are unrelated to the specific representation you have asked MWC to undertake on your behalf.
MWC’s maximum liability relating to services rendered under this agreement (whether in tort, contract, strict liability, or otherwise) shall be limited to the fees paid to MWC for the portions of its services giving rise to liability. In no event shall MWC be liable for any consequential, special, indirect, incidental, or punitive damages or expenses (including, without limitation, lost profits, opportunity costs, etc.) even if it has been advised of the possible existence of such damages. This revision shall survive the completion of this engagement.
If the foregoing terms are agreeable, please sign below to indicate your approval of the agreement on behalf of the City of McAllen. We look forward to continuing to work with you and the City of McAllen.
McGuireWoods Consulting, LLC
Also according to McGuireWoods Consulting, LLC, Hausenfluck joined that firm in January 2015. She assists clients with traditional advocacy, lobbying and government relations services in matters before the Texas Legislature and regulatory agencies.
She most recently worked as deputy legislative director for state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio.
In her time at the Texas Capitol, Hausenfluck staffed Van de Putte on the State Affairs, Business and Commerce, Education, Transportation, and Intergovernmental Relations committees.
McGuireWoods Consulting, LLC also states that Hausenfluck played an instrumental role in the state’s passage of the MOVE Act (Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment), as well as laws that expanded the craft beer and distillery markets in Texas. She also has statewide campaign experience, having served on Van de Putte’s campaign for Texas Lieutenant Governor in 2014.
Hausenfluck, who received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law, previously served as the director of member services for the Texas Construction Association.
For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories that affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).