Current News & Events

Legislative Report – July - 2018

NEA/NEH Funding Updates

Good news! On June 6, 2018, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities at $155 million apiece for FY 2019, a $2 million increase. On June 14th, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee matched that funding increase, also proposing $155 million for the agency in FY 2019. This proposed funding meets the ask of advocates from Arts Advocacy Day in March, which included the voice of the Texas delegation led by State Captain Texans for the Arts.

What impact does NEA funding have on the arts in Texas? A huge impact!
In TX, over the last 5 years, the NEA distributed more than $33,223,100 in direct grants to artists and arts organizations, and through state and regional partnerships, expanding access to the arts throughout this state, benefiting millions of adults and children.

These grants included 512 direct grants to Texas artists and arts organizations, totaling nearly $13,162,700 reaching more than 16,522,900 residents, and more than $20,060,400 in grants distributed through the Texas Commission on the Arts and Mid-America Arts Alliance, reaching in excess of 193,291,200 TX residents. (By law, 40 percent of NEA's annual grant-making budget is awarded directly to states and regions.)

What Happens Next Re. the NEA/NEH Budgets?

Both the Senate and House bills are now readied for floor action and votes, which may occur later this summer. With the Fall midterm election on the horizon, it remains unclear when Congress will finish their work for this year and provide final FY 2019 funding. We will keep you apprised and posted with opportunities for making your voice heard!

The Music Modernization Act (MMA) recently passed the House of Representatives 415-0. A straightforward and impactful bill to help thousands of songwriters, artists and music creators found a level of support that is rarely seen in Washington anymore.

The MMA fixes glaring problems that have been tolerated for too long. Due to a long-standing injustice in the law, recordings made before the arbitrary of date February 15, 1972 do not receive federal copyright protection. Because of this legal loophole, many digital music services have simply decided not to compensate the legendary artists who built great genres like country, bluegrass and rock.

These artists have been forced to file multiple lawsuits in several states, including Texas, simply to be compensated for their works. The bill fixes this problem and ensures that Texas’ great legacy artists will predictably and fairly be compensated for their works on digital and satellite music platforms. 

The MMA also ensures that producers and engineers are more fairly compensated. It requires that all digital music platforms use the same market-based rate standard to determine the level of compensation they provide to the music creators who provide the lifeblood of their services. 

The Music Modernization Act has significant bipartisan support in the Senate and we look forward to its passage. It will benefit thousands of music creators in Texas and make the music economy in the state that Sen.Cornyn touted even stronger. 
We hope we can count on both of our senators to support and quickly advance this important piece of legislation because it will benefit the Texas economy and the thousands of music creators who call the Lone Star State home.

STEP encourages the Senate to move swiftly and pass this bill without diluting the long overdue benefits it will provide for music creators.

Harvey Arts Recovery Releases Hurricane Preparedness Toolkit 

After three rounds of funding over $100,000 in disaster assistance to local artists and arts, heritage and cultural organizations impacted by Hurricane Harvey, the Harvey Arts Recovery Fund (HARF) has released an Arts & Culture Hurricane Preparedness Toolkit designed to bolster the arts community against future storms. The Toolkit features actionable advice for before, during and after a hurricane, as well as specific steps artists can take to protect themselves against loss of income or property.

The HARF Arts & Culture Disaster Hurricane Toolkit provides key information to prevent or reduce the burden of common issues reported by applicants to HARF funding opportunities, including loss of necessary tools or equipment, loss of opportunities to perform or show work, loss of prepared inventory and physical damage to a studio. That's why the Toolkit covers important topics such as flood insurance, protecting assets, emergency resources, mid-storm safety procedures, evacuation routes and disaster relief options.

Special thanks to everyone who collaborated in the creation of HARF to sustain and aid the Houston arts and cultural sector during Hurricane Harvey. A resource guide is now available at harveyartsrecovery.org and the Arts & Culture Disaster Preparedness Toolkit can be downloaded at https://www.votervoice.net/Broadcast…/RZz3-wdToTvVtBAxcjP-bQ

The Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pensions 

The Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pensions held its first hearing yesterday, which can be viewed here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-puXGHUrYk . The Committee has also released the opening statements made by its Co-Chairs, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

The purpose of the hearing was to explore “The History and Structure of the Multiemployer Pension System.” In addition to learning the basics about multiemployer pension funds, Committee members examined the factors that led to the national multiemployer pension crisis, as well as the consequences for potentially millions of participants if Congress fails to take decisive action.

The Joint Select Committee also announced yesterday that it is seeking input from stakeholders. We strongly encourage all participants to submit their public comments now to the Joint Select Committee’s mailbox at JSCSMPP@finance.senate.gov. The Committee requires that all submissions follow these guidelines: 

Submissions should be provided in the form of an email attachment (either in Microsoft Word or text-searchable PDF file).

The email containing the attachment should clearly indicate the name(s) of the author(s), contact information and any professional affiliation.

After submitting your input to the Joint Select Committee, send a copy to your own Members of Congress (U.S. Representative and both U.S. Senators). It is crucial that all of our Congressional representatives support the work of the Joint Select Committee and hold their colleagues accountable to take action in 2018. To find contact information for your Members of Congress, follow the links below.

For U.S. Representatives, visit http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
For U.S. Senators, visit https://www.senate.gov/…/contact_informati…/senators_cfm.cfm

SB 1221 Update - Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) Transparency Bill 

Texans for the Arts initiated the HOT Transparency Bill in the 85th Session to learn more about how municipalities that levy the Municipal HOT invest the tax across the eligible uses, with a keen interest in the 15% allowable for the arts. The Bill passed and was signed into law effective September 1, 2017. Municipalities are now required to provide HOT data to the Texas State Comptroller's Office between January 1st and February 20th of every year. This data will greatly inform Texans for the Arts so that we can work with you to ensure that investing HOT in the arts and cultural tourism is part of your municipal budget and vision for the future. You can learn more at the Comptroller's reporting website.

Senate Natural Resources & Economic Development Committee conducted a hearing on February 1st in Houston to which Texans for the Arts provided testimony about the Hotel Occupancy Tax, joined by the Texas Comptroller's Office, Texas Hotel & Lodging Association, Texas Municipal League, Houston First, and representatives of Sugarland, Brenham and Galveston, TX. There was significant discussion around SB 1221, the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) Transparency Bill which Texans for the Arts initiated in the 85th Session, to learn more about how municipalities that levy the Municipal HOT invest the tax across the eligible uses, with a keen interest in the 15% allowable for the arts. SB1221 passed and was signed into law effective September 1, 2017. Municipalities are now required to provide HOT data to the Texas State Comptroller's Office between January 1stand February 20th of every year. This data will greatly inform Texans for the Arts so that we can work with you to ensure that investing HOT in the arts and cultural tourism is part of your municipal budget and vision for the future. You can learn more at the Comptroller's reporting website.

"Tax Cut & Jobs Act" - Tax policy changes ahead!  

With the President's signing of the federal tax overhaul in late December, significant changes are ahead for nonprofits and the arts community. A number of resources are available to learn more about those impacts including: National Council of Nonprofits; Americans for the Arts Action Fund; and Venable LLP. The ultimate impact, with the fact that the Universal Charitable Tax Deduction did not pass, remains to be seen. Despite some researchers anticipating a loss in charitable giving of almost $20 billion, top GOP Congressional leaders still believe that a strong economy will make up the difference. It will be important for the charitable community to document the true impact over the next 18 months.
 

On a positive note, there were several other menacing provisions in the House and Senate bills that were omitted in the final conference bill that would have caused problems for nonprofit charities, particularly arts-related groups. 

New anti-counterfeiting bill (SB 1343)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a new anti-counterfeiting bill (SB 1343) into law that strengthens protections against physical music piracy and provides law enforcement representatives and prosecutors with clear and efficient legal tools that can be used to protect the Texas music industry.

The U.S. Second Court of Appeals ruled against the U.S. Department of Justice and affirmed BMI's consent decree victory, which allows for the practice of fractional licensing. This ruling confirmed the early position Governor Abbott and the TMO took in August of 2016, resulting in a massive victory for Texas songwriters, composers, and music publishers.


Past News & Events

Texas Arts Appropriations Cuts Amplified by Potential NEA Elimination

The new federal administration has formally announced plans to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities (and reduce funding to a whole lot of other agencies, as well). It is not a done deal yet and the budget process will be protracted, but the intention is loud and clear.

This is not just about the arts. This is about access, creativity, equity, community, history, and heritage. That means it's about everyone in this country, and everyone should care. Please be prepared to speak up. Loudly. We need your voice, and the voices of many others who care about Texas's, and the country's, future.

Contact your House and Senate delegations. Urge them to oppose the President's request and provide full funding for the NEA.
See if your state is represented on either the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee or the Senate Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. If so, your outreach to these committee members will be especially influential.
Remind your delegation that 40% of the grant dollars appropriated to the NEA go to states and regions. These funds address state priorities. Rural and low-income areas would be disproportionally hurt by the elimination of the agency.
Use your social media channels to propagate this legislative alert, Fact vs. Fiction: Government Arts Funding and Five Essential Arts Arguments.
Follow Texans for the Arts on Facebook and Twitter for timely updates on issues
Check Texans for the Arts website for details on specific issues and news and calls to action in support of the Texas Commission on the Arts
Make sure you, your colleagues, and your friends are signed up to receive Texans for the Arts' Arts Action Alerts.
Americans for the Arts (AFTA) has established an Arts Mobilization Center for up to the minute info on the arts at the federal level, and sign up for the Arts Action Fund.
From TOPOS (Transforming the Landscape of Public Understanding) and our Texans for the Art Arts Advocacy Day keynote Margy Waller: Tips for Talking NEA
Along with breaking news at the national level, Texans for the Arts is balancing work at the 85th Texas State Legislative Session. And it isn't pretty there either.

The Texas Commission on the Arts learned just yesterday that the Senate Finance Committee has recommended a 34% CUT to the TCA's appropriation which includes ZEROING out the Cultural & Fine Arts District funding and slashing the TCA's arts education budget by $1.4 million. With today's news about the potential loss of NEA funding (which would mean an additional cut of $1,928,200 to the TCA's budget), it would amount to a recommended budget of 43% LESS than the 84th Session biennium. We have yet to be apprised of any other Texas State Agency that is being asked to take a 43% cut!

The Texas House Appropriations Committee Budget recommendations are more hopeful, maintain the arts education funding, and place the Cultural & Fine Arts District appropriation in Article 11 and in Riders submitted by supportive Representatives (thank you!).

2017 STEP Conference Registration & Showcase Application

The STEP annual Conference & Showcase is coming up March 5&6. This year the ATX/San Antonio/Waco chapter is hosting our event in Georgetown.

Conference sessions will be held at the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel & Conference Center. Be sure to mention STEP when making your reservation for the negotiated rate. Click here for your Conference Registration form.

Our Showcase will take place right down the road in Granger at the Cotton Club and Steak House. Click here for your Showcase Act application.

The conference program is still firming up, so expect future emails regarding that.

Also, don't forget to get your memberships renewed before the end of this month for a discount!

January 10, 2017 was opening day at the Texas Capitol of the 85th Texas Legislative Session. 

It was a day of ceremony and protocol with a strong undercurrent of a lot of work ahead! 

Congratulations to all of the newly elected Texas Senators and members of the House and congratulations to Representative Joe Straus for being unanimously elected as Speaker of the House.

Of significant importance to the arts, both the Senate and House released their versions of the introduced budget on January 17th. For the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA), the budgets were the same in both documents. Unfortunately, the TCA's $5 million Cultural & Fine Arts District appropriation that Texans for the Arts led the legislative strategy in 2015 to secure, was omitted in both budgets. We are exploring strategies for the restoration of this appropriation during the Legislative Session and will keep you, our members and arts advocates, apprised.  

Indeed, we will be calling on you to work with us to ensure our collective voice for the arts is loud and clear. Joining us on 2017 Arts Advocacy Day will be an important opportunity to make your voice heard!

Click here to learn about Texans for the Arts' 85th Legislative Agenda and the issues that are important to all of us, including the 15% arts provision of the Hotel Occupancy Tax ("HOT"), full support for the Texas Commission on the Arts, and "Keep Texas Open For Business" to ensure that Texas welcomes everyone to our state! 

CHECK OUT THE THE TEXAS MUSIC OFFICE WEBSITE
http://gov.texas.gov/music/

The Texas Music Office (TMO) is a state-funded business promotion office and information clearinghouse for the Texas music industry. The TMO assists more than 15,000 individual clients each year, thereby meeting its legislative mandate: "Sec. 485.004. Promotion; Duties. (a) The office shall promote the development of the music industry in the state by informing members of that industry and the public about the resources available in the state for music production." The TMO is the sister office to the Texas Film Commission, both of which are within the Office of the Governor's Economic Development and Tourism Division.

Music Tour: Texas on Stage | #TexasToDo Films from Texas Tourism on Vimeo.

Texans for the Arts Foundation's Arts Funding & Leadership Development Workshop on February 24, 2016 in Waco, TX 

Don't miss this information packed Workshop for arts administrators, arts organizations' board members, community arts advocates, and citizen activists with challenging professional development content for all levels. Learn about developing a strong fundraising board, responding to the 'Seven Faces of Philanthropy', understanding municipal arts policy, and the important differences between advocacy and lobbying practices. Meet other arts leaders and see how the power of working together can increase your success.

Special thanks to Creative Waco for serving as the key host for this event. Registration for the Workshop will begin mid-November 2015. For more information click here!

2016 Arts Advocacy Day: The National Arts Action Summit will take place on March 7-8, 2016 in Washington, DC.  

In its third decade, Arts Advocacy Day is the largest conference of its kind and is the time to make your voice heard on Capitol Hill. Join the Texas delegation, learn all about the federal arts issues and meet with your own representatives. 
Registration will launch in November 2015.

Texas Association of Fairs & Events is hosting it's annual convention and trade show once again in San Antonio, TX on January 7 - 10, 2016 at the beautiful and relaxing Hill Country Hyatt Resort & Spa. We want to see you there as we explore our convention theme: Staying Ahead of the Curve!

All convention registration will be completed ONLINE again this year. To register for the convention click here!

Legislative Update for the 84th Session!

On April 1st, the Texas House passed HB 1, a $210 billion budget for the 2016-2017 biennium. Included is the Texas Commission on the Arts' "base" appropriations of $13,329,144. (Two amendments to redirect funds from TCA's base to other state agencies were not accepted.)

"Exceptional Items" from the TCA's Legislative Appropriation's Request including funds to support arts education grants for busing costs for school trips to art events and museums, and funding for TCA designated cultural districts, were placed in "Article 11" which will be addressed by the 'conference committee'.

The Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote out its budget, SB 2, to the full Senate next week, which also currently includes the TCA's base appropriations.

After both the House and the Senate have passed a budget, a 'conference committee' made up of five senators and five representatives will work up a compromise version of the budget. 

Texans for the Arts is also monitoring other bills relevant to our work in support of the arts: 

HB 1585 would allow one municipality the ability to spend Hotel Occupancy Taxes (HOT) on municipal budget items not directly related to promoting tourism, hotel and convention activity. This Bill would not only violate the historic statutory dedication of these funds for direct promotions of tourism, but could lead to a negative impact on the 15% allowable-by-law funding for the arts.
HB 3230 would amend the Texas Historic Preservation Tax Credit to include nonprofit organizations not subject to the state franchise tax. Nonprofit organizations own and are responsible for the care of many historic structures across Texas, including many in the TCA's designated Cultural Districts. The availability of the state historic tax credit will aid these organizations in preserving these historic places by increasing their ability to fund rehabilitation projects, an exciting opportunity for Texas' historic and cultural resources.

HB 76 and SB 385 would allow online voter registration, providing a convenient, cost effective and secure way for citizens to register to vote and hopefully increasing voter participation.

We will keep you apprised of these legislative activities over the coming weeks!

Performing Arts Alliance in Austin, TX - April 16, 2015

If you are in Austin on Thursday, April 16th, join The Performing Arts Alliance for a 'town hall' meeting to discuss the critical social, economic, political and other issues impacting regional artists and organizations. PAA will engage in a community dialogue to learn more about the current situation for arts and creativity in Central Texas and to share information about federal politics and advocacy activities relating to the arts. 
For more information or to sign up click here!

Brendon Anthony to Head Texas Music Office
by Reeve Hamilton
Jan. 30, 2015 

Brendon Anthony

Gov. Greg Abbott has tapped Brendon Anthony as the next head of the Texas Music Office, his office announced on Friday. Anthony is known for, among other things, playing fiddle in Texas singer-songwriter Pat Green's band.

According to state statute, the Texas Music Office, which is housed in the governor's office, is expected to "promote the development of the music industry in the state by informing members of that industry and the public about the resources available in the state for music production." The staff also serves as the liaison between the industry and state government.

Anthony is close with Abbott's chief of staff, Daniel Hodge, a music buff with whom Anthony often crossed paths when he was getting his start in Austin more than a decade ago.

After years of playing with Green and other Texas musicians, Anthony has retired from touring. But he did join Green on stage for a performance at Abbott's election night celebration in November.

Most recently, Anthony has worked with a company, One Live Media, that provides technology and services to help musicians and music venues grow their audience.

Since the Texas Music Office was created in 1990, it has been run by Casey Monahan, a former music writer. This month, word got out that Monahan would not be kept around in the Abbott administration.

The news was not well-received in many corners of the music industry. An online petition calling for Monahan's reinstatement has garnered more than 2,700 signatures. But Abbott appears poised to make a change.

"I'm here to help whomever my successor is," Monahan said on Friday.

In an interview, Anthony spoke highly of Monahan’s tenure.

“No one can express gratitude enough for a man who devoted 25 years of his life to this office,” he said of his predecessor. “He was a great voice for Texas musicians and businesses.”

Anthony, who starts Monday, said he would spend his initial weeks on the job talking to Monahan and others in the music community as he develops his plans for the office, which he said already include increasing the office’s digital presence.

Also Friday, the governor’s office named Bryan Daniel as the new director of the Economic Development and Tourism Division. The division will now oversee the Texas Film Commission, the Texas Music Office, the Women’s Commission and the Workforce Investment Council, following a restructuring designed to streamline operations under the governor’s office.

The governor also named LaChristian Taylor as the head of the Women’s Commission, which promotes business opportunities for women. Taylor most recently worked as a field supervisor on Abbott’s campaign and previously worked on other political campaigns in California.

Daniel recently worked in the Texas Department of Agriculture as the senior administrator for trade and business development. He previously served as vice president for business development at Agricultural Workers Mutual Auto Insurance Company and in President George W. Bush’s administration as the Texas state director of rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Texas Cultural Trust Releases New State of the Arts Report

In late January, the Texas Cultural Trust released data and resources to help provide information on the arts' impact on education and the economy in Texas. The new report finds that the arts and culture industry generates $5.1 billion for the state's economy, and contributes nearly $320 million in state sales tax revenue annually, and that 80% of Texas voters support increased funding for the arts in schools. Besides the report, the free resources include graphics such as web banners and Facebook banners, posters, and push cards that can be downloaded and shared. The report and resources are available at http://www.txculturaltrust.org/investinthearts/. 

Legislative Session Update

Texas' 84th Legislative Session is underway, and committee assignments have been made in both the Senate and House. The House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee will review TCA's Legislative Appropriations Request and discuss all requested amounts. TCA's Legislative Appropriations Request includes the Base Appropriations Request of $13,329,144 over the biennium, and Exceptional Items totaling $28,024,000 over the biennium. Exceptional Items include requests for additional dollars to support programs for veterans and their families, senior citizens, and rural populations; arts education grants for busing costs for school trips to art museums and performances; and funding for designated cultural district marketing, infrastructure, and events. 

The Texas Association of Business has adopted TCA's legislative agenda as part of its 2015 legislative priorities. TAB's Jobs for Texas document includes support for "increased funding for the Texas Commission on the Arts to foster the growth of the arts and culture industries throughout the state, resulting in job creation and increased cultural tourism" as a part of economic development. Additionally, as part of its legislative priorities for education and the workforce, the Texas Association of Business includes support for "high-quality fine arts education instruction and learning in all schools through the employment of certified arts education teachers and partnerships with community arts organizations" and the maintenance of current fine arts requirements.

The Senate Finance Committee Chair is Jane Nelson (Flower Mound) and the Vice Chair is Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (McAllen). The Committee's additional members are: Paul Bettencourt (Houston); Kevin Eltife (Tyler); Kelly Hancock (North Richland Hills); Joan Huffman (Houston); Lois Kolkhorst (Brenham); Robert Nichols (Jacksonville); Charles Schwertner (Georgetown); Kel Seliger (Amarillo); Larry Taylor (Friendswood); Carlos Uresti (San Antonio); Kirk Watson (Austin); Royce West (Dallas); and John Whitmire (Houston).

The House Appropriations Committee has John Otto (Dayton) as its Chair and Sylvester Turner (Houston) as Vice Chair. The other members of the Committee are: Trent Ashby (Lufkin); Cecil Bell, Jr. (Magnolia); Greg Bonnen (Friendswood); Cindy Burkett (Sunnyvale); Giovanni Capriglione (Southlake); Sarah Davis (West University Place); Dawnna Dukes (Austin); Helen Giddings (DeSoto); Larry Gonzales (Round Rock); Donna Howard (Austin); Bryan Hughes (Mineola); Linda Koop (Dallas); Oscar Longoria (Mission); Marisa Márquez (El Paso); Ruth Jones McClendon (San Antonio); Borris L. Miles (Houston); Rick Miller (Sugar Land); Sergio Muñoz, Jr. (Palmview); Dade Phelan (Beaumont); Four Price (Amarillo); John Raney (College Station); Justin Rodriguez (San Antonio); J.D. Sheffield (Gatesville); Gary VanDeaver (Clarksville); and Armando Walle (Houston).

TCA's Legislative Appropriations Request will be considered as part of House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 2. As filed, both bills recommend that TCA receive the Base Appropriations Request amount. The House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee may make recommendations that TCA receive less than TCA's Base Appropriations Request, and all, part, or none of any of the Exceptional Item Requests. The Legislative Session will end on June 1, 2015.

2015 STEP Conference and Talent Showcase! 
Join STEP in Houston Texas this year for Educational Seminars Featuring discussions on Business Solutions, Politics and more…. Networking with Industry Peers and our incredible Entertainment Showcase/Pub Crawl.

Educational Seminars: 
Featuring discussions on Entertainment and The State of The Texas Entertainment Industry. 

Network with Industry Peers: 
Gather with entertainment agents and entertainers from across Texas. 

Entertainment Showcase:
In the great tradition of STEP Confabs a showcase of talent has been planned to showcase acts, both new and familiar, traditional and not-so-traditional all for you to use and enrich the variety of talent you can offer your clients. See some great venues and enjoy an evening of food, fun and discovery! 

Dates:  
Sunday March 1, 2015 – The Opening GENERAL SESSION LUNCH will start promptly at 11:30am followed by seminars all afternoon, dinner and the legendary STEP Talent Showcase Event. 

Monday, March 2, 2015 – Educational sessions begin with breakfast at 9:00am We will wrap up by 3pm Monday afternoon.

Click here to register now:

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: FEBRUARY 6, 2015

Click here for report and House Committees and Chairs

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