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New regulations require Texas campgrounds, RV parks and resorts to have policies in place that either allow or prohibit guests from openly carrying firearms, according to a release from the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), whose attorney will address this and other new regulations during the association’s Spring Meeting, which takes places April 23 to 25 at the Lake Conroe KOA.

Park operators also must have their guests acknowledge their understanding of these policies when they check in, said Brian Schaeffer, executive director and CEO of TACO.

“It’s very important for park operators to understand what these new guidelines are,” said Schaeffer, adding that new federal regulations could also make park operators subject to discrimination lawsuits if they refuse to allow convicted felons into their parks.

“You can get into trouble by refusing to rent to people with felonies,” Schaeffer said, adding that Jenny Smith, TACO’s legal counsel, will address this issue and advise park operators on steps they need to take to comply with the latest government regulations and avoid discrimination lawsuits.

TACO’s annual Spring Meeting kicks off Sunday, April 23, with an update from Ron Hinkle, TACO’s legislative consultant, regarding the state’s January to June biennial legislative session. The evening’s entertainment will include a happy hour with vendors, live music, a DJ and Mexican food for dinner. The first night’s food and entertainment will have an international theme with taco fajita salads, a green screen fun photo booth with pictures in Paris as well as an Americana photo booth.

Monday, April 24, will start off with breakfast, a welcoming address by the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce and TACO’s awards presentation, which will be followed by an entertaining presentation by Patrick Henry, a motivational speaker and former Nashville songwriter and current SiriusXM radio personality on The Family Comedy Channel and Blue Collar Radio.

“Patrick will talk about taking care of your existing business instead of simply focusing all your attention at capturing new customers,” Schaeffer said. “He’s very folksy and sings as part of his presentation. His theme is being rememberable and growing your existing business by making friends with your customers and having fun.”

Smith’s legal roundtable will also take place Monday along with the TACO trade show. “The trade show is sold out,” Schaeffer said, adding that about 50 vendors are scheduled to attend, while the evening’s entertainment will feature the association’s annual legislative fundraising auction, the largest in the campground industry.

Tuesday, April 25, will feature several educational sessions, including presentations by Larry Brownfield of KOA regarding the latest consumer trends in the hospitality industry, while representatives from Austin, Texas-based TengoInternet will discuss the latest trends in Wi-Fi, including findings from TengoInternet’s State of the Industry report.

Schaeffer and Jeff Crider, TACO’s publicist, will also conduct a marketing and public relations class and provide tips to help park operators promote their businesses. Additionally, the Texas Railroad Commission will be on hand throughout the event to update parks on the latest significant changes in propane sales.