AUSTIN, Texas – When the 2nd Annual Policy Orientation for the Texas Legislature gets underway on Wednesday, more than three dozen lawmakers and experts will be offering their insights on the biggest issues facing the state this year and next.

While Wednesday’s program will focus exclusively on issues surrounding education reform and tax changes, Thursday will include discussions ranging from health care and water to transportation and insurance.

“Our goal is to provide legislators, their staff and interested individuals an opportunity to learn more about the issues facing Texas, as well as the potential solutions and ramifications,” said the Foundation’s president, Brooke Leslie Rollins.

Keynote speakers for the two-day Orientation include newly appointed Commissioner of Education Dr. Shirley Neeley, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Gov. Rick Perry and former New Zealand cabinet minister Maurice McTigue.

Registration closed early after the venue, Austin’s historic Driskill hotel, was filled to capacity.

Issues to be discussed, besides education and tax reform, include: school choice, water, health care, asbestos litigation, transportation, insurance and telecommunications.

Featured speakers and panelists include:

  • The Honorable Rick Perry
  • The Honorable David Dewhurst
  • The Honorable Jerry Patterson
  • The Honorable Susan Combs
  • The Honorable Kyle Janek
  • The Honorable Frank Madla
  • The Honorable Dianne White Delisi
  • The Honorable Talmadge Heflin
  • The Honorable Carl Isett
  • The Honorable Bill Keffer
  • The Honorable Phil King
  • The Honorable Mike Krusee
  • The Honorable Glenn Lewis
  • The Honorable Robert Puente
  • The Honorable Larry Taylor
  • The Honorable Gene Seaman
  • José Montemayor, Texas Commissioner of Insurance
  • Shirley J. Neeley, Commissioner of Education
  • The Honorable J.E. “Buster” Brown
  • Kay Andrews, Brown McCarroll, LLP
  • Chris Britton, Employee Partners
  • Patrick Brockett, University of Texas
  • Catherine Clark, Texas Association of School Boards
  • Wendell Cox, Public Purpose
  • Anne Dunkelberg, Center for Public Policy Priorities
  • Bruce Fein, Fein and Fein
  • Raymond Gifford, Progress & Freedom Foundation
  • Eric Hanushek, Hoover Institution
  • Milton Holloway, Resource Economics, Inc.
  • Caroline Hoxby, Harvard University
  • Harrison Keller, Office of the Speaker
  • Dick Lavine, Center for Public Policy Priorities
  • The Honorable Maurice McTigue
  • Haavi Morreim, University of Tennessee
  • Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
  • Paul Peterson, Hoover Institution
  • Ed Pickle, Shell Oil Company
  • Drew Scheberle, Texas Business and Education Coalition
  • Adam Thierer, Cato Institute
  • Richard Vedder, Ohio University
  • Shirley Ybarra, The Ybarra Group (30)