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We are well into the 84th legislative session and have had an eventful few weeks! House committees are meeting, the Capitol hallways are packed with action and legislative offices are busy. March 13th was the final day for legislators to file bills. Over 6300 bills were filed. We are now beginning to have legislation sent to the House floor for debate and final consideration. Please take the time to catch up on state news, see a few bills I have authored, joint authored, and co-authored, as well as read updates on committee meetings and district business.

 

CONTENTS:

STATE BUSINESS COMMITTEES
BILLS FILED DISTRICT BUSINESS
CONTACT OUR OFFICE JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

 

 

High Speed Rail

The proposed high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston by Central Texas Railway has been a major concern in our state and I am working hard to keep this out of Texas! I have authored HB 1889 to avoid granting eminent domain authority to High Speed Rail. If passed, this bill will require every county’s approval along the route for the use of eminent domain for electric railways.

 

Border Control 

Border security is a federal responsibility but Texas cannot afford to wait for Washington D.C. to act. This is why I co-authored, The Stronger Border, Safer Texas Act, House Bill 11, which will permanently strengthen the presence of DPS Troopers on the border, curb the flow of the cartels’ supply lines and create a new team of investigators who will help police crackdown on crime syndicates wherever they operate in Texas. On Wednesday March 11, I had the honor of voting HB 11 out of the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee. The bill passed out of committee unanimously.  Alongside my colleagues, I look forward to passing this bill on the House Floor this upcoming week to send a clear and decisive message to all that we take the safety of all Texans seriously and will not tolerate organized crime and illegal immigration in any way shape or form. I also co-authored the Anti-Human Trafficking Omnibus Bill, House Bill 10, a comprehensive piece of legislation that is aimed at addressing all aspects of anti-trafficking efforts.

 

Sam Houston State University Celebrates Sam Houston’s 222nd Birthday in Austin | March 2nd Texas Independence Day | March 6, 1836 Remember the Alamo

It was a special time for Texas last week as we celebrated Texas Independence Day on March 2nd and took time to remember the Battle of the Alamo on March 6th. Earlier in the week, the SHSU Alumni Association, along with University President Dana G. Hoyt, hosted a celebration of General Sam Houston’s 222nd birthday at the Capitol. The Alumni Association board of directors organized the event, held at the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum, where alumni, faculty and members of the Texas Legislature gathered to honor one of Texas’ founding fathers. Hoyt stated that SHSU’s internship program that sends students to Austin to work with Texas Legislators has also been increasing SHSU’s state presence. I am happy to have two interns working in the Capitol and District office that will graduate from Sam Houston in May.

 

 

 

BILLS FILED

Below are a few bills I have authored, joint-authored or co-authored from February 16th- March 16th. To read the up-to-date status of these bills, please  CLICK HERE or click on the bill number to read each bill in detail!

 

Authored Legislation:

HB 1889 (Authored): The fight against High Speed Rail- This bill will require every county’s approval along the route for the use of eminent domain for electric railways.

HB 1134 & HJR 80 (Authored): This bill will provide Franchise Tax rebates by returning half of the unencumbered balance at the end of the biennium to businesses after transfers to the Economic Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund).

HB 2331 (Authored):  This bill would change the current formula for franchise tax, making more deductions available in an attempt to exclude business operating at cost or a loss for that year, and decrease the number of business paying the tax.

HB 2269 (Authored): This bill further protects our 2nd Amendment rights from Federal Government overreach.

HR 497 (Authored): This resolution commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Go Texan Parade in Conroe.

HR 690 (Authored): This resolution was in memory of former District 16 State Representative David Crews of Conroe.

 

Joint-Authored:

HB 320 (Joint-Authored): This legislation will increase the penalties for the sexual solicitation of a minor online.

HB 352 (Joint-Authored): This bill would require recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits to be drug tested if they fail the pre-screening test.

HB 443 (Joint-Authored): This bill would require agencies to use zero-based budgeting for state agencies as part of the sunset review process ensuring a more accurate and transparent review.

HB 479 (Joint-Authored): This bill would transfer rural 911 calls to the Commission of State Emergency Communications dispatch center in Conroe.

HB 742 (Joint-Authored): This bill will scale back the amount of standardized tests students must take before entering high school. Third through eighth grade will now be following the minimal federal requirements.

HB 972 (Joint-Authored): Ethics Reform- This bill further promotes transparency by lowering the amount of  expenditures lobbyists are allowed to spend before reporting to the Texas Ethics Commission.

HB 1326 (Joint-Authored): This bill will designate English as the official language of the State of Texas.

HB 629 (Joint-Authored): This bill will require that jurors must have the ability to read and write English.

HB 595 (Joint-Authored): This bill will help combat the rise of synthetic drugs by adding them to the Texas Controlled Substance Act.

HCR 61 (Joint-Authored): This Resolution will urge Congress to reimburse the State of Texas for bearing the financial burden to secure the Texas-Mexico international border.

 

Co-Authored:

HB 10 (Co-Authored): This is a comprehensive bill aimed at addressing all aspects of sexual or human trafficking efforts across the state.

HB 11 (Co-Authored): This legislation will provide a stronger DPS presence on the border, tougher penalties for smuggling, and more resources for police statewide.

HB 871 (Co-Authored): This legislation would permit DPS to take only a thumbprint rather than all ten fingers when applying for a driver’s license.

HB 1187 (Co-Authored): This legislation will designate a segment of US Highway 287 as the Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield Highway.

HB 1278 (Co-Authored): This legislation makes sure survivors of fallen first responders get adequate financial assistance.

HB 597 (Co-Authored): This bill will increase the penalties for possessing synthetic drugs.

HCR 57 (Co-Authored): This resolution would urge Congress to end the ban on crude oil exports.

 

 

HB- House Bill 

HCR- House Concurrent Resolution 

HJR- House Joint Resolution 

 

 

 

BILLS FILED

Below are a few bills I have authored, joint-authored or co-authored from February 16th- March 16th. To read the up-to-date status of these bills, please  CLICK HERE or click on the bill number to read each bill in detail!

 

Authored Legislation:

HB 1889 (Authored): The fight against High Speed Rail- This bill will require every county’s approval along the route for the use of eminent domain for electric railways.

HB 1134 & HJR 80 (Authored): This bill will provide Franchise Tax rebates by returning half of the unencumbered balance at the end of the biennium to businesses after transfers to the Economic Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund).

HB 2331 (Authored):  This bill would change the current formula for franchise tax, making more deductions available in an attempt to exclude business operating at cost or a loss for that year, and decrease the number of business paying the tax.

HB 2269 (Authored): This bill further protects our 2nd Amendment rights from Federal Government overreach.

HR 497 (Authored): This resolution commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Go Texan Parade in Conroe.

HR 690 (Authored): This resolution was in memory of former District 16 State Representative David Crews of Conroe.

 

Joint-Authored:

HB 320 (Joint-Authored): This legislation will increase the penalties for the sexual solicitation of a minor online.

HB 352 (Joint-Authored): This bill would require recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits to be drug tested if they fail the pre-screening test.

HB 443 (Joint-Authored): This bill would require agencies to use zero-based budgeting for state agencies as part of the sunset review process ensuring a more accurate and transparent review.

HB 479 (Joint-Authored): This bill would transfer rural 911 calls to the Commission of State Emergency Communications dispatch center in Conroe.

HB 742 (Joint-Authored): This bill will scale back the amount of standardized tests students must take before entering high school. Third through eighth grade will now be following the minimal federal requirements.

HB 972 (Joint-Authored): Ethics Reform- This bill further promotes transparency by lowering the amount of  expenditures lobbyists are allowed to spend before reporting to the Texas Ethics Commission.

HB 1326 (Joint-Authored): This bill will designate English as the official language of the State of Texas.

HB 629 (Joint-Authored): This bill will require that jurors must have the ability to read and write English.

HB 595 (Joint-Authored): This bill will help combat the rise of synthetic drugs by adding them to the Texas Controlled Substance Act.

HCR 61 (Joint-Authored): This Resolution will urge Congress to reimburse the State of Texas for bearing the financial burden to secure the Texas-Mexico international border.

 

Co-Authored:

HB 10 (Co-Authored): This is a comprehensive bill aimed at addressing all aspects of sexual or human trafficking efforts across the state.

HB 11 (Co-Authored): This legislation will provide a stronger DPS presence on the border, tougher penalties for smuggling, and more resources for police statewide.

HB 871 (Co-Authored): This legislation would permit DPS to take only a thumbprint rather than all ten fingers when applying for a driver’s license.

HB 1187 (Co-Authored): This legislation will designate a segment of US Highway 287 as the Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield Highway.

HB 1278 (Co-Authored): This legislation makes sure survivors of fallen first responders get adequate financial assistance.

HB 597 (Co-Authored): This bill will increase the penalties for possessing synthetic drugs.

HCR 57 (Co-Authored): This resolution would urge Congress to end the ban on crude oil exports.

 

 

HB- House Bill 

HCR- House Concurrent Resolution 

HJR- House Joint Resolution 

 

 

COMMITTEES  

 

Economic and Small Business Development

To see what bills have been referred in/out of committee as well as to see when hearings are scheduled,

please visit: CLICK HERE

 

Along with serving on the committee for Economic and Small Business Development, I was also appointed to serve on the sub-committee for small business within this committee. I am looking forward to getting to focus closely on Economic and Small Business legislation.

 

Homeland Security and Public Safety

To see what bills have been referred in/out of committee as well as to see when hearings are scheduled,

please visit: CLICK HERE

 

 

DISTRICT BUSINESS

 

District office Grand Opening

Thank you to everyone who attended the Grand Opening of my District Office!

 

 

Tourism & Economic Development

With growth comes a lot of opportunity, and the tourism industry is benefitting from the high demand of those traveling to our community. The Texas Travel Industry Association hosted their Converge on the Capitol this past week and I had the opportunity to visit with our local Convention and Visitors Bureau Manager, Harold Hutcheson. Our rich Texas Heritage in Montgomery County is one to be proud of and those visiting also want to learn and appreciate what we have to offer! In hand, this helps with the expansion of new attractions, retail, residential, and commercial developments. Fred Welsh, the Director of the Greater Conroe/ Economic Development Council, also visited with me about the progress of new developments as well as expansion projects we will begin to see completed in the next few years.

 

Montgomery High School Choir Performs at the Capitol

One of my favorite things during session is seeing constituents from the District visit the Capitol. It was an honor to listen to the Madrigals, one of Montgomery High School’s Choirs, while they performed in the Rotunda at the State Capitol.

 

Go Texan Parade

We participated in the 50th Anniversary of the Go Texan Parade on February 22, 2015. I was honored to present a House Resolution to the Captain of the Metro Go Texan Conroe/Willis/The Woodlands Committee in honor of their 50th Anniversary. Make sure to take the time to enjoy the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo the next few weeks and support youth, education and agriculture!

 

Montgomery County Day at the Capitol | March 24, 2015

Mark your calendars and make sure to contact your local Chamber of Commerce if you are interested in joining them for Montgomery County Day at the Capitol on March 24th. My staff and I are looking forward to having each of you here! Make sure to stop by our state office after the lunch for coffee and treats in E2.704! For more information contact your local Chamber of Commerce.