This year’s Institute agenda includes everything you need to navigate the interim and get prepared for the 87th Texas Legislative Session.

Below is an overview of the working agenda. Stay tuned for updates.

Ethics Commission Update: Latest News and Activities that Impact Our World
Chad Craycraft - Chair, Texas Ethics Commission
Anne Peters - Executive Director, Texas Ethics Commission

What Color is Texas: Impact of Changing Demographics on the Legislative Process
Mike Baselice - President and CEO, Baselice & Associates
Jim Henson - Director, Texas Politics Project
John Hockenyos - President, TXP, Inc.

Texas Redistricting: What You Need to Know to be Prepared
Jeff Archer - Executive Director, Texas Legislative Council

Texas Legislative Arena: What Happened - What’s Happening - What’s About to Happen
Ross Ramsey - Executive Editor and Co-Founder, The Texas Tribune
Scott Braddock - Quorum Report
Mike Hailey - Editor & Publisher, Capitol Inside
Moderated by Brian Sweany - Communications Director, Upward Strategy Group and former Texas Monthly Editor

Advocacy: Intersection of Public Relations and Lobbying
Elizabeth Christian - Founder and CEO, Elizabeth Christian Public Relations

Compliance Review and Q&A
Presenters announced soon

Stay tuned for updates…



November 14, 2019
9:00am - 4:00pm


AT&T Conferece Center, Rowling Hall
300 W Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Austin, TX

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Past Events

PAAT PAC Seminar 

Have a PAC? Interested in forming a PAC? Or just interested in learning more about the process and procedures for operating a PAC in Texas? Join us for our half day PAC Seminar to ensure you are not only in compliance, but are maximizing your PAC's potential to help you meet your goals.

The agenda will focus on the following areas:

  • State PAC Law Update: Examination of changes that occurred during the 86th Texas Legislative Session.

  • Ethics Commission Update: Review of the changes at the Commission in the past year, including the impact of the upcoming threshold changes; new Commission website; responding to complaints; and overview of common PAC filing dilemmas.

  • Best Practices: Roundtable discussion on a variety of topics, including establishing a PAC, fundraising, deadlines and record keeping, etc.

  • Federal PAC Law Update: Status of FEC activity; review of relevant FEC rules; responding to complaints; independent expenditures; campaign account use-state to fed/fed to state, etc.


School will be back in session and we are kicking off the interim with a Roundtable discussion featuring Sunset Commission policy analysts Julie Davis and Robert Romig. Davis and Romig were involved in multiple high profile reviews during the last cycle - Romig led the behavioral health agency consolidation efforts, and Davis led the review of the Plumbers and was on the DPS review - so they have a wide perspective of different types of reviews.

Topics to be discussed at the Roundtable will include an overview of the Sunset review process, agencies up for review, and how stakeholders can effectively be involved. As part of the discussion Davis and Romig will advise on the best ways to contact project managers once the agency assignments have been made (staff assignments are expected to be released publicly around September 1), as well as offer options for general stakeholder input in reviews if clients would like to provide more individualized comments on an agency. The Commission has contact lists for agencies, so Davis and Romig will also outline how to ensure associations or other contacts are included in the updates during the reviews and stakeholder surveys.

PAC and ASSOCIATION Reporting Requirements and Compliance Tips

Do you have or do you manage a PAC in Texas?

Do you work for an association?

If so, do you know that in many cases there are IRS requirements for both PACs and associations - including a potential May 15 filing deadline?

Renae Duncan, CPA and Partner at Atchley & Associates, LLP will examine key IRS reporting requirements so that you understand what you may or may not have to do from an IRS perspective and so that you know you are tracking the right information throughout the year.

Duncan’s discussion will include best practices for IRS PAC and association compliance and reporting including notice, income tax returns, annual returns, end of year filings, payroll returns, super-PACs, tax consequences, and more.

This Roundtable is perfect for PAC managers, association leaders and others who are involved in the day to day administrative activities of PACs and associations.


The bill filing deadline has come and gone! Join us for a Roundtable this Thursday, March 14 to discuss options for getting your issues in the mix now that the deadline has passed. 

Roundtable panelists include:

Ross Peavey - Parliamentary Expert: Peavey's extensive experience in both the Texas House and Senate has helped him develop a keen understanding of legislative tactics and parliamentary procedure. He is currently the Chair of the State Bar’s Legislative and Campaign Law Section.

Jim Pitts - Former House Appropriations Chairman: Pitts will talk about managing your issues from an appropriations and budget perspective. 

Lucas Meyers - Former Senior Lt. Gov. Staffer: Meyers will talk about issues from a Senate and leadership perspective. 

Jerry Philips - Former HDCC Executive Director: Phillips will talk about the campaign side of things.

If you would like to join PAAT and sign up as a member click here.


The election of a new Speaker of the Texas House for the first time in five sessions brings with it a new landscape for the government affairs world to navigate.

As part of our mission to support ethical practices, compliance with the law and continuing education, we have invited members of Speaker Bonnen’s leadership team to come discuss changes in House policies and procedures and other information of relevance to the government affairs world.

2018 PAAT Institute 

This year’s Institute agenda included everything you need to get ready for the 2019 Legislative Session. We were honored to have Speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus join us as our Keynote speaker. Straus’ leadership over five sessions ties him for the longest-serving Texas Speaker.

Panels included:

  • 10:05 AM: Navigating the Texas Ethics Laws - Session Compliance Overview and Important Scenarios
    Ed Shack, Ethics Expert and Attorneys at Law
    Moderated by Andy Cates, Ethics Attorney

  • 11:20 AM: Commission Update
    Seana Willing, Executive Director, Texas Ethics Commission
    Randy Erben, Texas Ethics Commissioner

  • 12:10 PM: KEYNOTE
    Texas House Speaker Joe Straus

  • 1:15 PM: Local Government Lobbying - Navigating Municipal Ethics Laws
    Ross Fischer, Attorney at The Gober Group and former Ethics Commissioner
    Bill Longley, Legislative Counsel, Texas Municipal League

  • 2:15 PM: Digital Advocacy - Understanding and Utilizing Technology and Social Media in Today’s Advocacy Environment
    Elyse Yates, Founder, Influence Opinions


The legislative session is right around the corner! Are you prepared?

Andy Fish, Managing Partner - Texas Legislative Service (Telicon), will provide an overview of the latest Telicon features as well as tips for using technology and data to navigate the session. More about Telicon.

Elyse Yates, founder and CEO of Influence Opinions, will discuss the influence of digital communications in today’s advocacy landscape. Yates’ discussion will include a brief overview and analysis of the broad spectrum of online channels and digital media happenings, including historical and emerging trends and potential problem situations. More about Elyse.

Seana Willing, Executive Director of the Texas Ethics Commission, will provide a brief “State of the Commission”, with an update on the latest Commission news and activities. More about the Commission.

Andy Cates, Lobbyist and Ethics Attorney, will give us a peek at his Lobby Days software, which makes lobby days at the Capitol actually easier to set up and administer. Cates has been around the Texas Capitol for around 10 years both as a staffer and as a lobbyist, and built this software as a small fix to what he saw as a very outdated way of approaching the logistical nightmare of setting up lobby days at the capitol.

September 25, 2018

It's the law we all don’t quite understand...Join us for our September Roundtable for a detailed analysis of the laws governing the process of electing a Speaker of the Texas House from Travis County Attorney David Escamilla - the office charged with addressing complaints related to this race. Escamilla will provide an overview of the process involved in reviewing complaints under the Speaker's race campaign statute and how to advise your client/company of the ethical boundaries of participation. As part of this Roundtable we have also invited members of the media to provide their thoughts on the Speaker's race from a political and practical perspective.

The Roundtable will also have a panel with ethics attorneys Ed Shack and Margo Cardwell to review the upcoming PAC reporting requirements in advance of the November elections and will include a Q&A in the event you have specific questions.

August 22, 2018

Ever have one of those days when you are sure there is a better way to do what we do?! Well, there might be! Our August Roundtable will explore best practices for the lobby profession, including the more technical business aspects (practice formation, accounting, tax changes, etc.), as well as more client specific issues such as how to set up engagement agreements, what expenses are appropriate to charge back to a client, how to manage conflicts of interest, and more.

If you are an association or company representative who has lobbyists you may learn something about how to better work with them as well! 


  • Representatives from Atchley & Associates, CPA

  • Lobbyists and Ethics Attorneys: Tom Forbes, Jack Gullahorn, Gardner Pate and Ross Fischer

Roundtable with House Chief Clerk Robert Haney
May 22, 2018

Discussion with House Chief Clerk Robert Haney. Haney discussed the House's proposed new kiosk based system that hopes to streamline the bill and resolution authorship process. The new process would eliminate the need for the coauthor and joint author forms that get circulated by members and staff…and sometime lobbyists (informally of course). Haney also discussed his thoughts on other changes in the pipeline heading into the 86th Legislative Session.  MCLE OFFERED. View slide deck