AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation's Center for Economic Freedom will host the policy panel "Consumer Protection or Burden? Regulation of the Marketplace" at the 12th Annual Policy Orientation for the Texas Legislature on Wednesday, January 8, at 2:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol.

"From homeowners insurance to the electricity market, Texas policymakers frequently invoke consumer protection to justify heavy regulations of the competitive market-often at the expense of both the Texas economy and Texas consumers," said Kathleen Hunker, Center for Economic Freedom policy analyst.

Panelists include:

  • Kathleen Hunker (moderator) is a Center for Economic Freedom policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
  • Senator Larry Taylor is Vice Chairman of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee and a member of the Senate Education, Government Organization, Health and Human Services, and Intergovernmental Relations Committees. Before his election to the Texas Senate in 2012, he served five terms in the Texas House of Representatives.
  • Representative Dan Flynn was named East Texas Legislator of the Year for his principled conservative leadership. He serves as Co-Chairman of the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations and Vice Chair of the House Committee on Investments and Financial Services, and a member of House Homeland Security and Public Safety.
  • Representative John Smithee was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1984. He has served as Chairman of Insurance since 1993. He currently serves on the State Affairs Committee, as Co-Chair of the Joint Interim Committee on Seacoast Territory Insurance, and as a member of the Windstorm Insurance Legislative Oversight Board.
  • Tom "Smitty" Smith has been Director of Public Citizen's Texas office since 1985. He has testified over 1,000 times on energy and other issues before the Texas Legislature and Congress. He has won over a dozen awards for his advocacy work, including the Heinz award and recently was recognized by Politico magazine as one of the 25 most influential Democrats in Texas.

For twelve years, the Foundation's Policy Orientation has been one of the nation's top policy conferences, selling out each year while bringing together lawmakers, policy experts, and engaged citizens from across the political spectrum to discuss critical issues facing the Lone Star State and America. Last year's Policy Orientation attracted approximately 1,100 attendees including 100 state legislators and hundreds of legislative staff from both sides of the aisle.

This year's program includes more than 25 panel discussions and debates on the major issues affecting Texas' future.  The program will be updated with additional events and speakers in the coming weeks. Members of the public and media who wish to attend may register and view the agenda here:

Kathleen Hunker is a policy analyst with the Center for Economic Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.



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