On this day, February 24, 1836, Colonel William Barrett Travis' wrote a letter from the Alamo where he famously claimed, "I shall never surrender or retreat." You can read the entirety of his letter here.
It's been a busy 2 weeks in Austin: Pearland Day has come and gone, and I was able to be back in the district for the Alvin ISD turtle race and Souper Saturday. I was asked to speak at the Texas Aggregates and Concretes Association breakfast and the TAG Houston reception.
This week we are covering:
- Sanctuary Cities Legislation
- Update on Co-Authored Bills
- How Recycling Can Help You Invest in Texas
- How to Follow Bills Online
I was chosen to receive the highest honor awarded by the National Federation of Business: the Guardian of Small Business Award. This award is given to lawmakers whose work reflects support and advocacy for the small business community during the previous legislative session. I consistently voted with small business, earning a 100% voting record with NFIB during the 84th Session ranging on issues from the state's onerous franchise tax to curtailing over-burdensome government regulations on employers.
SANCTUARY CITIES LEGISLATION
As you may have heard, several Texas cities have adopted or are planning to adopt “sanctuary city” policies to intentionally hinder or even prohibit local law enforcement cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs and prohibit officers from inquiring about a person’s immigration status.
In the Texas House, I am working with my fellow Republicans to promote legislation to prevent local policies from undercutting the enforcement of immigration law made at the federal and state level. We are working to address this issue by:
- Prohibiting municipalities, counties, special districts, local entity employees, and district attorneys from adopting rules, orders, ordinances or policies that prohibit or discourage the enforcement of state and federal immigration laws.
- Requiring local entities to cooperate with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding criminal illegal aliens.
- Ensuring that law enforcement agencies must notify the magistrate or judge if the federal government has identified a person as an undocumented alien or if a federal detainer request has been issued.
- Denying state grant funds or issuing a monetary penalty to local entities that are found to be in violation of the law.
As Republicans, we believe that it is our duty to ensure the safety of all Texans, and we are committed to prohibiting sanctuary city policies that threaten our security. Local jurisdictions must enforce state and federal immigration laws to protect our communities and uphold law and order. Last session we provided over $800 million in additional funding to secure the border. We will continue to provide additional resources to protect Texans and pass legislation to enforce immigration law.
I addressed the Texas Transportation Commission yesterday in Austin. I have been in frequent contact with TxDOT on transportation issues in House District 29, and since being appointed to the House Committee on Transportation, I will have even more opportunities to support the transportation infrastructure of our community.
UPDATE ON CO-AUTHORED BILLS
There are a number of bills I have signed onto co-author and support over the past two weeks, including:
- HB 4 by Rep. Burkett - requires DFPS to provide financial assistance to low income kinship caregivers.
- HB 5 by Rep. Frank - removes DFPS from HHSC's umbrella to make it a standalone agency.
- HB 6 by Rep. Frank - implements a statewide community-based foster care system under DFPS.
- HB 20 by Rep. Capriglione - provides greater oversight, review, and reporting of certain state agency contracts.
- HB 89 by Rep. King, P. - prohibits state agencies from contracting with or investing in companies that boycott Israel.
- HB 113 by Rep. Keough - prohibits the use of red light cameras.
- HB 218 by Rep. Dale - closes the loopholes currently allowing predatory teachers to transfer from school to school in order to protect against improper student/teacher relationships.
- HB 339 by Rep. Burrows - removes the fee to obtain a License to Carry a handgun.
- HB 490 by Rep. Anderson, R. - requires health insurers to cover medically necessary hearing aids and cochlear implants for children.
- HB 577 by Rep. Workman - prevents local governments from prohibiting private employers from requesting the criminal history record of an applicant or employee.
- HB 1024 by Rep. Kacal - removes the fee to obtain a License to Carry a handgun.
- HB 1133 by Rep. Sheffield - requires Medicaid Pharmacy Benefit Managers to reimburse pharmacies based upon actual acquisition costs of prescription drugs.
- HB 1258 by Rep. Clardy - prohibits an agency or vendor from making electronic court records available for public access without the agreement of the county and district clerks and commissioners courts in order to protect court records and preserve local authority.
- HB 1908 by Rep. Zerwas - increases the legal age to buy and consume tobacco products from 18 to 21.
- HJR 58 by Rep. Schofield - prohibits the state from imposing a state income tax.
- HCR 39 by Rep. Stephenson - supports the use of the word "God" at public gatherings and the display of the Ten Commandments at public educational institutions and government buildings.
In District 29, we are blessed with incredible law enforcement officers. Some of them were in Austin this week for the Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) Day at the Capitol. Pictured left to right: Officer Tommy Landis of Pearland PD, Detective John DeSpain of Pearland PD, me, Chief Bryan Corb of Richwood PD and Sergeant Roy Castillo of Pearland PD.
HOW RECYCLING CAN HELP YOU INVEST IN TEXAS
Most of you are probably already aware of how recycling can have some significant environmental benefits, but did you know that it can also make a large economic impact? The State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR) is a non-profit group whose mission is to "increase recycling rates in Texas, for Texans." They focus on collaborating with local Texas communities and those in the recycling industry to create projects that are both performance and data-driven to provide evidence that recycling creates both jobs and revenue for our state. Through STAR's recently launched program the Texas Recycling Data Initiative (TRDI) - they have been able to collect comprehensive data and statistics on the current recycling rate in Texas, and how this is translates to strengthening the state's economy.
Some of the reports released in 2015 from TRDI show that 12,500 jobs in Texas were supported by processing recyclable material coming from Texans' homes and businesses, more than six million tons of material was recycled in 2013, and that a number of Texas businesses are reliant on a strong supply of recycled material to manufacture their products. While these statistics show a promotion of job growth and the development of a thriving industry, the recycling rate in 2013 for Texas was only 18.9%. This shows that there is still quite a lot of opportunity for increased recycling opportunities and business participation in Texas. By becoming involved and investing in recycling throughout the state, you are able to contribute to the success of both Texas businesses and the strengthening of your local economy.
If you are interested in learning more about the recycling industry in Texas, please visit www.txrecyclingstudy.org, www.recyclingstar.org, and www.facebook.com/recyclingSTAR. Source: Texas Recycling Data Initiative, produced for the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR)
Pearland Day 2017 was a huge success! There was record turnout and it was great to see so many people from our community visit Austin. We were honored to have Land Commissioner George P. Bush speak to our group yesterday morning. Pictured left to right are: Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta, Land Commissioner George P. Bush, Pearland Mayor Tom Reid, me, and Ashlea Quiñonez of Memorial Hermann and the Chair of Pearland Day in Austin.
HOW TO FOLLOW BILLS ONLINE!
You can follow bills and topics of interest to you through the Texas Legislature Online website, www.capitol.state.tx.us! You can track legislation and keep an eye on the status of bills as they make their way through the legislative process. Here’s how:
Go to www.capitol.state.tx.us. In the middle of the home screen, you will see where you can search bills by word/phrase or by bill number. Just type it in and find everything you need to know about any bill!
You can also create your own bill list to follow: a simpler way to track multiple bills at the same time. Click on “My TLO” at the top of the page, then click on “Bill Lists.” Here, you can create your own listing on “My TLO” with your email and a password. Then you can enter a list of bills and begin receiving information and alerts when action is pending on the legislation you are following!
For more information on Texas Legislature Online, click here.
Please contact us if you are going to be in Austin - we'd love to meet with you! Please follow me on Facebook and Twitter (links below) to stay updated and stay in touch. Additionally, if you need assistance on a state-related issue, please contact my Pearland office at (281) 485-6565, my Capitol office at (512) 463-0707, or email me at
God Bless Texas!
House District 29