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Friday, April 21 2017

The Capitol Review Vol 5, No. 8

Volume 5, No. 8

Hello and Happy San Jacinto Day, Texans!


On this day in 1836, Texan forces defeated Santa Anna's army at the Battle of San Jacinto. Also, on this day in 1888, the Texas Capitol formally opened to the public! We have 38 more days before the 85th Legislative Session is over, and our days are filled up bill reviews, committee hearings, House Floor debates, and legislative meetings. In this edition of the Capitol Review we will cover:

  • HB 938: The Endy Ekpanya Memorial Highway
  • More Ethics Reform
  • Statue of Liberty in Austin
  • The 50 State Scorecard
  • Prohibiting Investments in Terrorist Governments
  • House District 29 Dates of Interest


HB 938: The Endy Ekpanya Memorial Highway

Last week on April 12th, Pearland Assistant Chief of Police Johnny Spires and Lucy Ekpanya provided testimony in favor of my House Bill 938 in the Transportation Committee. This bill would designate a portion of Farm-to-Market Road 518 in Pearland as the Officer Endy Ekpanya Memorial Highway. Archived video and audio footage of House Committee hearings are available here. - to watch the hearing, search for the House Transportation Committee:



It was an honor to present HB 938 last week. Pictured with me are Endy Ekpanya's widow Lucy Ekpanya, his son Julian Ekpanya, and Pearland Assistant Police Chief Johnny Spires.


More Ethics Reform

This past Tuesday, we considered five emergency calendar ethics bills. These are in addition to the bills I shared with you in the Capitol Review Volume 5, Number 6! Republicans in the Texas House are committed to increasing transparency in government and holding elected officials accountable to those who elected them to serve. This ethics reform legislation is intended to streamline the process that holds our elected officials accountable. Each of these bills passed the House and are heading to the Senate:

  • House Bill 1377 simplifies the personal financial statement reporting requirements for state officers, candidates elected to office, and state party chairs. The bill also changes the requirement for disclosing shares of stock to the greatest number of any non-publicly traded business entity acquired and traded, and publicly traded corporations by stock symbol. It also requires an organization to maintain a record of their financial statement for three years beginning on their filing deadline. By streamlining the disclosure requirements to only what is necessary, filers will not over-report and the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) will have an easier time sorting through information.
  • House Bill 1378 repeals current unenforceable law that creates the sixty-day, ten-person requirement for general-purpose committees. A court decision made in 2014 (Catholic Leadership Coalition v. Reisman) found these restrictions to be unconstitutional because they restricted political speech, therefore current law is unenforceable. This bill eliminates the requirement that a general-purpose political committee must wait sixty days and receive contributions from ten people before making contributions, and prevents future litigation against the Texas Ethics Commission under existing statute.
  • House Bill 1379 enhances election transparency and allows for the public to have more access to the flow of campaign money. This ensures that outside PACs that have not appointed a Campaign Treasurer notify campaigns benefiting from a direct campaign expenditure. It also clarifies that outside PACs that have not appointed a Campaign Treasurer must disclose their financial statements to the TEC if they make a direct campaign expenditure exceeding $100.
  • House Bill 1381 streamlines the notification requirements for personal financial statement due dates. It allows the TEC to determine notification to filers that a personal financial statement is due, clarifies that this notification procedure applies to campaign finance reports and lobby reports, and increases efficiency and transparency in ethics reporting.
  • House Bill 1384 repeals current unenforceable law that restricts contributions and expenditures made in the campaign for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. A court decision made in 2008 (Free Market v. Reisman) found these restrictions to be unconstitutional because they restricted political speech, therefore current law is unenforceable. As a result of this court decision, the TEC is susceptible to lawsuits under current statute. HB 1384 does not make substantive changes to the law, rather it repeals statute that has been determined unconstitutional that has regulated Speaker campaigns. This will remove potential future litigation and protect free speech rights in the election process.



Did you know that there is a replica of the United States Statue of Liberty on the Capitol Grounds in Austin? Read below for more information on this interesting statue.


Statue of Liberty in Austin

This bronze miniature statue was erected in 1951 by the Boy Scouts of America. The statue initially was placed to the southwest of the Capitol, but was later relocated in the 1990s to restore the appearance of the south grounds. When the preservationists were moving the statue, they discovered a time capsule! The capsule was moved to the Boy Scout camp near Bastrop in 2008, and it is set to be opened in the year 2076, which will mark the three hundred year anniversary of the founding of our country!




We had a great time at the Alvin Music Festival. What an awesome event by the Alvin Sunrise Rotary to raise funds for scholarships and community projects! Pictured with me are Johnny Wennerstrom and his wife and Alvin ISD Board Member Tiffany Wennerstrom.



The 50 State Scorecard

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar's office compiled a 50 State Scorecard, where our great state is ranked against the other states on a variety of issues, including population, taxes, income/wages, quality of life, natural resources, just to name a few. You can view the scorecard here.





Prohibiting Investments in Terrorist Governments

We stand with nations that support and align with our country's principles and must continue to work together to ensure that terrorist organizations do not impact our American way of life. House Bill 1142 aligns government entity contracting laws to protect American values. HB 1142 updates state contract law to prohibit governmental entities from contracting with companies engaged in active business operations with Sudan, Iran or a foreign terrorist organization. This legislation also prohibits a state agency, city, county, school district, special district, and even the legislature from contracting with a business for goods or services, including public works projects, if that business is engaged in business operations with the Sudanese or Iranian governments, or a foreign terrorist organization designated by the U.S. State Department.





See below for information on this and other important events coming up!



House District 29 Dates of Interest

As usual, House District 29 is buzzing with activity! If you have any events you would like us to promote on social media and in future Capitol Reviews, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ! Here are a few items coming up in the near future:

  • Emergency Preparedness Tax Free Weekend begins at 12:01am on Saturday April 22nd and ends at midnight on Monday April 24th! This Sales Tax Holiday is given to prepare Texans for weather emergencies. A complete list of emergency supplies can be found on the Comptroller's website here.
  • Early voting in local elections begins on Monday April 24th! For a list of locations, please visit the Brazoria County Clerk's website here.
  • The National Prescription Take-back is on April 29th. Find out more info at this link.
  • When someone commits suicide, it weighs heavy on the hearts of many in the community. This Saturday April 22nd, organizations have partnered to provide a training event to inform the community on suicide prevention and mental health and wellness. See information on the flyer below:


It is an honor to serve you in the Texas House. My staff and I are here for you, so please do not hesitate to reach out if we can be of assistance to you on any state-related matter!


God Bless Texas!


Ed Thompson

District 29


Capitol Office: E2.506                                                                    

P.O.Box 2910                                                                       

Austin, Texas 78768                                                              

(512) 463-0707        


District Office:      

2341 N. Galveston, Suite 120

Pearland, Texas 77581

(281) 485-6565                       



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