The 83rd Session of the Texas Legislature has begun, and the process of balancing the state’s needs and resources is moving forward. We are blessed to live in a state with an abundance of natural resources, combined with a fiscally conservative governance model continues to set Texas apart from other states. Texas continues to lead the country in job, population and economic growth. As legislators we have an obligation to be responsible stewards of the finite resources while also rising to meet the challenges that are inherent with population growth.
I have filed several bills since pre-filling began on November 12th and plan to file several more. I am in the process of working on several bills I plan to file in the
coming days that focus on 2nd Amendment rights, a review of Medicaid and the entitlement process, victims advocacy, government transparency, and more fiscal controls.
I thank you for taking the time to read my bi-monthly update and look forward to hearing from you in the coming months on issues that are most important to you. My office contact information is below and my staff and I are always available to help with any questions or concerns you may have.
State Representative House District 83
Legislators have turned in committee cards and will be waiting on the Speakers Office to select committee assignments.
The Role of Committees
The size of the legislature and the volume of work confronting it each session make thoughtful deliberation on all proposed measures by the entire membership a difficult task.
For this reason, the basic business in both chambers is conducted according to the committee system.
Committees are created in the rules of procedure of the respective chambers to consider introduced bills and to advise on their disposition. A large number of bills are never reported out of committee. Thus, committee action is the first crucial step in the process by which a bill becomes law.
My focus for the 83rd is continuing to work on common sense solutions for the challenges the state faces, not just for today but for 20 years from now. Changing entitlement, pushing back federal overreach, and protecting our individual rights including the innocent, unborn and infirmed is a gradual process. Accordingly, the legislation I file will reflect the process needed to achieve these goals. To date the bills I have filed cover a myriad of issues for my district and an overall more fiscal and transparent government.
★ How can I track a bill? Up-to-date information about bills from the current session can be accessed through the Texas Legislature Online website (www.legis.state.tx.us).
Relating to exemption from ad valorem taxation of the residence homesteads of certain partially disabled veterans.
Relating to the use of zero-based budgeting.
Relating to the Teachers Retirement System state contribution rate.
Population plus inflation growth cap on appropriations.
Drug testing persons seeking state and federal assistance.
Proposing a constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of part of the market value of the residence homestead of a partially disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a partially disabled veteran if the residence homestead was donated to the disabled veteran by a charitable organization.
Constitutional amendment for H.B. 228.
THE ISSUES THAT MATTER
There is a consensus in the House that water, education curriculum reforms, public education accountability system and a more transparent budget must be a top priority. In the initial house budget, public school growth of an estimated 180,000 students was funded as well as the projected Medicaid growth. The budget projections that have been released reflect an additional $8 billion in receipts over what was projected last biennium. However, it is important to note that the additional money was spent on prior session carryovers: $4.5 billion on Medicaid costs, $1.8 billion in public education deferral, a portion
to fires due to drought and some on additional funds needed to reconcile unintended consequences associated with health care legislation in advance of the Affordable Care Act. Thus, the additional receipts are already spent, but it also means that Texas should be able to leave the session with a budget that stands on its own merits without any accounting gimmicks into the next session.
Statewide Water Plan
The discussion of water will be three fold:
‣ Funding. Current proposals are centered around putting seed money into an evergreen fund that will be accessed by
municipalities to develop water resources and redo aging infrastructure.
‣ Private Property Rights. Acknowledgement of who owns the water and the amount of compensation due for the use of the same.
‣Who, What & How. Determining who gets to access to the seed money.
It is important to ensure adequate water projects meet demand but we also must protect property owners inherent rights. Additionally, I will be involved in ongoing discussion regarding the process for picking water projects to ensure it is fair and equitable.
LANNING A CAPITOL TOUR
The Capitol Information and Guide Service is located in the restored Treasurer’s Business Office on the first floor of the Capitol. Free Capitol tours are conducted daily beginning in the Capitol South Foyer and concluding in the Capitol Extension. This tour features the Capitol, Texas history, and the Texas legislature.
Tours are generally 45 minutes in length and are available during the following times:
Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Saturday, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm Sunday, Noon – 3:30 pm
Capitol tours are conducted daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Easter.
Reservations for groups of 10 or more should be made in advance by calling 512.305.8400.
When booking your tour, please advise us of any special needs so we may make proper accommodations for your visit.
Special group tours are also available through the Capitol Visitors Center, the Texas State History Museum, and the Governor’s Mansion.
- ★ February 20th, 2013: Texas Tech Day at the Capitol
- ★ February 26th, 2013: Lubbock Chamber Day at the Capitol
- ★ Friday, March 8th, 2013: (60th day) Deadline for filing bills and joint resolutions other than local bills, emergency appropriations, and bills that have been declared an emergency by the governor [House Rule 8, Sec. 8; Senate Rules 7.07(b) and 10.01]
- ★ Monday, May 27th, 2013: (140th day) Last day of 83rd Regular Session; corrections only in house and senate [Sec. 24(b), Art. III, Texas Constitution]
Download a pdf here.