Driftwood, TX — Last week, Representative Zwiener (Driftwood) laid out House Bill 1512 before the
House Transportation Committee, House Bill 3722 in the House Committee on Public Health, and House
Concurrent Resolution 13 in the House Committee on Culture, Recreation, and Tourism.
“House Bill 1512 is the first step in allowing local authorities to have a say in billboard placement on our
rural roads in Hays County,” Rep. Zwiener said. “Our county officials are well-acquainted with both
tourism and advertising throughout the county and are well equipped in determining fair and appropriate
sites for billboards on these smaller roads.”
“House Bill 3722 is a simple solution in response to one of the many logistical issues that the COVID-19
pandemic exposed,” Rep. Zwiener said. “The ability to rapidly contact trace during future health
emergencies is necessary and can potentially prevent widespread loss of life.”
House Bill 1512 would allow county commissioners in counties with two or more dark sky communities
to determine where billboards can be constructed on farm-to-market and ranch-to market roads.
Billboards can be an effective advertising tool for travelers, however, they can obstruct views and pollute
dark skies with light when improperly placed within dark sky communities. The differences in authority
have led to billboard placement on mixed rural and residential roads that disrupts scenic beauty and leaves
a negative impact on tourism. Western Hays County is comprised of extraterritorial jurisdictions and
unincorporated areas whose Farm-to-Market and Ranch-to-Market roads are currently under TXDOT’s
regulation, creating a patchwork of city extraterritorial jurisdiction and unincorporated county. County
commissioners are local experts; this bill would allow the Hays County Commissioners to locate
billboards over a few miles of farm-to-market and ranch-to-market roads.
Rep. Zwiener also laid out two other pieces of legislation, which would establish a critical statewide
protocol for contact tracers/give county commissioners the authority to determine where billboards can be
constructed in counties with two or more dark sky communities and designating the City of San Marcos
as the Mermaid Capital of Texas.
House Bill 3722 establishes a protocol for contact tracers. This bill comes in response to the COVID-19
pandemic and would ensure the state has sufficient materials on hand to deploy a rapid scaling up of
contact tracing for public health emergencies in the future. At the beginning of the pandemic, contact
tracing was a critical piece in slowing the spread that we simply weren’t prepared to handle. This bill
would require DSHS to develop training materials for conducting contact tracing and post the materials
on the department’s website. This bill would incorporate just one of the many lessons that the state of
Texas has learned since the onset of COVID-19.
House Concurrent Resolution 13 would designate the City of San Marcos as the Mermaid Capital of
Texas. For over ten thousand years, San Marcos has held a special connection with its river, representing
and sustaining the city and the local community. San Marcos has embodied the spirit of the mermaid for
years, and with this designation, can continue to promote and celebrate mermaids for years to come.
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