March Legislative Update

Dear Friends,




(806) 783-9934


The second month of session has come and gone and what a difference from the last session. There is a general attitude of solution seeking rather than passing the buck. Texas’ economy is doing well and has provided some much needed funding to deal with how core services are provided.

Technological upgrades are scattered throughout the agencies budget requests. Requests continued to be centered on modernization of the state’s data resources to improve the delivery of service to the taxpayer. A few examples come to mind: The Railroad commission requested $22 million to upgrade an antiquated legacy technology to better improve the largest economic driving force in our states economy. HHSC is still implementing technology to capture fraud and abuse in the Medicaid system. Synergy among agencies data bases will continue to be my focus for more efficient delivery of government services.

March 8th marked the deadline for filing legislation, and I have several bills regarding government efficiency reforms, fiscal responsibility, traditional family values, victim rights, gun legislation and the protection of life.

Water, transportation and education continue to be the primary focus and debate amongst the members. Several bills regarding significant and needed changes regarding the education’s accountability system and providing alternative paths for career and technology have been discussed. Water funding has captivated the discussion of every member in the house. Transportation funding and the amount needed continues to be one of the most divisive and illusive issue. In my legislative update next week I will be discussing these issues in depth.

The House Sergeant-at-Arms Office provides an Honorary Page Program which allows grade school children to participate during session when sponsored by a member. If you are interested in participating, please contact my Capitol Office at (512) 463-0542.

Thank you for taking the time to read my legislative update. I look forward to hearing from you during the last days of session 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.

Jacklyn and I would like to wish you and your family the best for a safe and Happy Easter!

Sincerely yours,

Charles Perry
State Representative–House District 83


District Support for HB 899

Pam Alexander (Executive Director, Lubbock Victim Assistance Services) and Matt Powell (Lubbock County District Attorney) testified to the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence in support of my Victims Rights Bill. HB 899 will allow the close relative or guardian of a victim to decline to be contacted by the defendant or defendant’s attorney’s victim outreach specialist.

The hearing didn’t begin until after 9 PM due of the high volume of amendments on the House Calendar. I am incredibly grateful that Pam and Matt were in for the long haul and stayed to talk about this important measure.

Thoughts on Federal Overreach in Texas

Washington DC continues to attack fossil fuels and individual liberties; and their overreach continues to be a perpetual drain on state resources.

The federal government’s inability to balance their budget continues to place a cloud of uncertainty around the Texas state budget. This uncertainty is real and must be considered as we go throughout this session.

Texas has risen to accept these challenges and we will continue on with that mindset.

House District 83 Visits the Capitol

March 20th was Texas Retired Teachers Day at the Capitol. Educators from across the state were here advocating on their priority issues for session. I had the opportunity to meet with the group in town from House District 83 about funding for TRS and current bills of interest.

After being snowed in, the Lubbock Chamber finally made it to Austin on March 26th for Chamber Day at the Capitol. Representative Frullo and I recognized them on the House Floor.

Also on the 26th, we honored the life of Steve Jones and the contributions he made to the South Plains. His wife, Patti and their two sons, Chad and Casey were able to be on the House Floor for this special event.

Upcoming Honorary Pages: Angela Sanchez from Brownfield; Rachel & Cole Beckmeyer from Colorado City.

Hearing for HB 1421

On Thursday March 21st, I laid out HB 1421 to the Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety.

Under current law in the act of offense involving a firearm, law enforcement agencies confiscate and hold firearms until a magistrate makes a ruling. If found not guilty, the firearm may be returned within a specified time to the rightful owner. In cases where the return of the weapon is prohibited, the magistrate has three options: order the firearm to be destroyed, forfeit to the state for use by the law enforcement agency holding the weapon, or donate to a county forensic laboratory.

This bill adds the option to sell firearms strictly to licensed firearm dealers under Federal Statute 18 U.S.C. Section 923. Proceeds from the sale of a seized firearm under this bill shall be transferred back to the law enforcement agency in possession of the firearm minus costs associated with the sale of the weapon.

HB 1421 was unanimously reported out of the committee. It will now be sent to Calendars to be set to be heard on the House Floor.

Update On Legislation Filed

HB 97 & HJR 24 Disabled veterans receiving a constructed home donated by a 501(c) organization would receive a tax credit in proportion to their disability. Referred to Ways & Means on 2/5.

HB 98 Zero-based budgeting bill that will require agencies during the budget process to evaluate from zero the core functions and resources needed to perform those functions. Referred to Appropriations on 2/5.

HB 1539 Provides that a health care provider cannot withhold life sustaining measures (i.e. nutrition and hydration) due to economic costs or disability. Referred to Public Health on 2/26.

HB 1673 Provides the option of entering a voluntary covenant between a man and women reaffirming their intent to a life-long commitment in marriage. Referred to Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence on 3/4.

HB 1749 Will allow for committees to meet via tele-conferencing, reducing unnecessary travel costs. Referred to Government Efficiency & Reform on 3/11.

HJR 49 A common sense solution that will set the boundaries for budget appropriations to population plus inflation growth. Referred to Appropriations on 2/7.

Committee Work: Appropriations

Last Thursday afternoon the House Committee on Appropriations voted out Senate Bill 1 unanimously.

All the members of the committee put in long hours working to make this bill equitable while still remaining to be good fiscal stewards of tax payer dollars.

The House approved $40.7 billion dollars in all funds directed to education, an additional $1 billion dollars was added compared to the Senate Budget amount.

The appropriations bill must still go to the house for a vote.

Download a pdf of this update here.