Absolutely nothing has happened in the district over the past month… April Fool's! It's been another busy month in House District 29 and at the Capitol in Austin. In this edition of the Capitol Review, we are covering the following topics:
· Events held throughout HD 29
· Staying vigilant & reporting suspicious activity (DPS & iWATCH)
· Memorial Hermann Pearland - Grand Opening & New CEO
· District 29 Advisory Councils
· Joint Interim Committee to Study a Coastal Barrier System
· Glenda Dawson DPS Organ Donor Registry
House District 29 was ripe with activities and meetings throughout the month of March! We attended numerous events, including the Pearland ISD Education Foundation Gala, Commissioning & Grand Opening of the San Jacinto College Maritime Technology & Training Center, Alvin-Manvel Chamber of Commerce Monthly Luncheon, HD 29 Transportation, Education, Local Governance, and Health & Human Services Advisory Councils Meetings, a Pearland Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs meeting to discuss the state of the oil & gas industry, West Pearland Republican Women Meeting, and the Pearland Area Republican Club Meeting.
We also went to the Lions Club Benefit at Grazia Italian Kitchen, Senate District 11 convention at Manvel High School, Groundbreaking Ceremony for Biotech company Lonza, UHCL Report to the Community Breakfast, met with city leaders in Alvin and Pearland, had a site visit at Neighbors Emergency Center, I spoke at the Memorial Hermann Pearland Hospital Grand Opening, and Freddie and I co-chaired the 13th Annual Red Hat Literacy Luncheon! In Austin, I attended the Annual Republican Party of Texas Legislative Dinner, a breakfast discussion with Karl Rove, the Texas Conservative Coalition Annual Meeting, and the 2016 Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute Policy Forum.
Biotechnology company Lonza will be expanding into Pearland with a new 100,000 square foot facility that will have at least 50 employees and a projected completion date in 2017. I am pictured here at the groundbreaking on March 29, 2016 with City of Pearland officials and Lonza staff. More information about the facility can be found here.
In light of the terrorist attacks in both Europe and the United States, I join with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to remind you to remain aware of their surroundings. We have shared this information with you before, but I want to reiterate: suspicious activity and crime can occur in any community at any time. DPS is urging citizens to report suspicious behaviors to the department’s iWATCH website at www.iwatchtx.org. The iWATCH program was created as a partnership between communities and law enforcement, and utilizes citizen-sourced tips related to criminal activity. Concerned citizens can visit the iWATCHwebsite to fill out a report, which includes contact information and specifics about a particular incident. A report usually takes less than five minutes to complete, and once submitted, each report is reviewed by law enforcement analysts. The website also lists a phone number for possible anonymous reports.
Examples of suspicious behaviors and activities can include but are not limited to strange smells that are unusual for the location, backpacks, bags, or suitcases left behind, people asking security questions about certain buildings or people, taking photographs of security cameras, and people making requests for sensitive or confidential information.
If you see something unusual, simply speak up. Preparations for terrorist attacks may often be seen, but rarely reported. When in doubt, report the suspicious activity through iWATCH. For more information on the iWATCH program or to submit a report, visitwww.iwatchtx.org. To make an anonymous report, individuals can contact DPS at 1-866-786-5972. (iWATCH is not designed to report emergencies. If a situation requires an emergency response, call 911.)
Memorial Hermann Grand Opening/New CEO
The Memorial Hermann Health System officially expanded into Pearland in March. The Memorial Hermann Pearland Hospital opened its doors on March 29th and is located at16100 South Freeway, on the southbound side of Highway 288 near FM 518. The 64-bed hospital will offer high-quality services and specialties, including orthopedics and sports medicine, neurology, general surgery, heart and vascular, labor and delivery, gastroenterology and urology. I would also like to congratulate Mario Garner as the new CEO for the Pearland hospital site. Taking on the role of CEO for a hospital is a huge undertaking and I have no doubt that Mr. Garner will succeed in making both the patients and staff feel right at home. More information about the hospital can be found here. I would also like to welcome Dr. Benjamin K. Chu to the Memorial Hermann Health System. Dr. Chu will be serving as the new President and CEO of Memorial Hermann and is extremely qualified to serve in this position. More information about him can be found here.
I had the honor of being the Keynote Speaker for the Memorial Hermann Pearland Hospital Grand Opening on March 22, 2016. It is a pleasure to have the Memorial Hermann Health Care System expand into House District 29.
House District 29 Advisory Councils
The HD 29 Advisory Councils for Education, Health and Human Services, Local Governance, and Transportation met in the month of March, where they reviewed interim charges from the 84th Legislative Session and spoke about various issues affecting our district. The objective of each council is to encourage organic conversation over issues that affect House District 29 and reporting any findings that may need to be addressed through legislation or agency action at the state level. The goal may be to propose a bill that may be passed during the next session or to support a specific cause that will benefit our district. Members of each council include concerned citizens, community leaders, healthcare experts, students, and business stakeholders. For more information about attending an upcoming meeting, please contact my District Director, Liz Sitta, at 281-485-6565.
Rep. Thompson pictured with students and future leaders from the Chamberlain College of Nursing. They are part of the House District 29 Education Advisory Council.
Coastal Barrier System
As a member of the Joint Interim Committee to Study a Coastal Barrier System, I will be in Galveston on April 10th and 11th to hear invited testimony on the benefits and costs of creating solutions to protect the Texas coast from future hurricanes which can devastate our part of the state. Senate Bill 695 by Senator Larry Taylor calls for a study of the feasibility and desirability of creating and maintaining a coastal barrier system, and I was proud to support this legislation in the House. SB 695 went through the House Committee on Land & Resource Management, of which I serve as Vice-Chair, and I had the opportunity to witness the support for this bill. I am glad Brazoria County will have representation on this vital committee and I will update you on our findings throughout the year.
Freddie and I were the honorary co-chairs of the Red Hat Literacy Luncheon on March 24, 2016. I was happy to also serve as one of the “celebrity waiters.” We heard from keynote speaker Secretary of State Carlos Cascos on the importance of literacy in Texas.
Dawson Organ Donor Registry
Last month, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced an impressive milestone: the Donate Life Texas Registry (the official organ, eye, and tissue donor registry for the state of Texas) surpassed more than eight million potential organ donors. The registry is the state database of individuals who have officially given consent for their organs and tissue to be donated to benefit individuals awaiting transplants.
The 79th Texas Legislature created the registry in 2005, later legislation helped streamline the registration process, and additional DPS training has helped increase participation in the registry. Since its creation, more than eight million DPS customers have chosen to become possible donors during the driver license/identification card application, renewal, and duplicate processes. Individuals who choose to join the donor registry through DPS will automatically receive a heart symbol on their license or ID card as a reminder of their decision.
As many of you know, Glenda Dawson, the former State Representative for District 29 from 2003-2006, championed legislation in 2005 to establish the organ donor program that we have today. Her experience as a kidney organ recipient helped increase the awareness of such an important issue for thousands of Texans. The program went into effect on September 1, 2005. Glenda Dawson passed away on September 12, 2006, but her legacy lives on through the donor program and the many lives it has helped save.
Currently more than 13,000 individuals are awaiting organ or tissue transplants in Texas alone. In 2015 in Texas, 250 DPS-registered donors made 751 transplants possible, according to Donate Life Texas. For more information about organ donation in Texas, visitwww.donatelifetexas.org.
Residents can register at their local DPS office when applying for or renewing a driver license or identification card, or they can enroll online at www.donatelifetexas.org orwww.donevidatexas.org.
The Alvin-Manvel Chamber of Commerce Executive Board and Rep. Thompson at a meeting in March.
Can I help you with a state issue you are facing? Please email me at
, call my District Office at 281-485-6565, or my Capitol Office at 512-463-0707. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated and stay in touch.
Thanks for reading, and God Bless Texas!