The last two weeks of the legislative session saw the first bills voted on by the House of Representatives, passing changes to help the overturned Child Protective Services system for Texas, my first committee meetings, and my first meeting as a member of the Texas Conservative Coalition.
The Texas Conservative Coalition, or TCC for short, is a group of 73 House members, and 16 Senators, who have a shared set of values they pledge to put at the center of all their decision making as legislators.
1. Protect Constitutional Rights
2. Advance economic freedom by reducing barriers for first-time employers and job seekers
3. Promote government reform, accountability, and fiscal responsibility
4. Encourage job creation through tax reform, reduction, and elimination
5. Improve education
6. Work to strengthen border security and stem illegal immigration
It is an honor to be able to work with and alongside such a great team of legislators, who all share the same set of core beliefs. We may disagree at times about the best way to go about achieving those principled ends, but we know that when we meet as a coalition every Sunday evening, we will be all working towards the same ultimate goals.
Monday, March 6th 2017 marked the first full hearing of the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, and my first opportunity to hear bills in a committee setting. Over the last two weeks your HD20 staff has reviewed around 100 pieces of filed legislation regarding the Criminal Justice System in Texas, getting ready for this first committee hearing, and the many that will follow for the remainder of the session.
In my last two reports I informed you of the happenings in the Capitol, but now I want to hear from you; so, in this edition of Sit-Rep, let’s look at a few of the major bills that will I will be authoring this session, and I’d like for you to either call my office at (512)463-0309 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me and my staff know your thoughts. If you would like to view any of these bills in more depth, or to see the other bills I have authored or co-authored, you can go to www.capitol.state.tx.us and search for my name to see everything I have filed.
Bills Filed –
This first group of bills resulted from my work with our Justices of the Peace, Judge Gravel from Williamson County, and Judges Roxanne Nelson and Lisa Whitehead of Burnet County.
HB 1574 – Law enforcement currently submits an affidavit for arrest before a person appears in front of a magistrate. This bill just takes that from a “best practices” standard to a statutory requirement, ensuring that all Texans receive due process when being arrested.
HB 1575 – When property is stolen, the only court that can currently hear the request to return it to the proper owner is the one with jurisdiction over the area where the property was found and recovered. This can sometimes be hundreds of miles away from where it was stolen. This bill allows the venue to be moved to the jurisdiction where the property was stolen, saving the victim of theft an additional expense and headache.
In the weeks following the election in November and before the start of session, I met with every school district superintendent in HD20, hearing their concerns and goals for the next two years. A universal message from them was concern for how the new A-F school rating system would operate. We took those concerns to Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath, and, working with both our school districts and the commissioner, wrote HB 2782.
HB 2782 – Gives clear guidelines to the Texas Education Agency on the A-F rating system, specifically requiring that the rating system be designed in such a way that all schools have the possibility of receiving an A rating, should they all meet those standards.
In the next few Sit-Rep articles, I will go into more depth about the issues that will be coming before both the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee and the House Committee on Defense and Veterans’ Affairs, on which I am also honored to serve, and the House Floor. We will look at one issue per article, overview the facts and figures of the issue, give you an idea of your current representation, and provide ways for you to provide the feedback I need to make the right decision on your behalf.
I’m in the district more often than not, mostly in the early mornings or in the evenings after the House has concluded business for the day. If you’d like to set up a time to meet with me personally, please don’t hesitate to call and ask to set up a time especially if for groups of ten or more. The more we know what you think, the better we can represent House District 20.