Capitol Office: 512.463.0707   |   District Office: 281.485.6565

Friday, May 05 2017

The Capitol Review Vol 5, No. 9

 

 

Volume 5, No. 9

Hello!

 

It is May 5th and many Texans are celebrating Cinco de Mayo today, the anniversary of the date the Mexican army won the Battle of Puebla over France in 1862 during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). The Texas Legislature is working hard today and into this weekend. Tomorrow we have a full calendar of bills to debate!

 

In this edition of the Capitol Review, we will be covering:

  • School Finance Reform (HB 21)
  • Sanctuary Cities (SB 4)
  • Phasing out the Franchise Tax (HB 28)
  • Click It or Ticket
  • Team Thompson Bill Update
  • House District 29 Events

 

 

 

Last week, we had an impressive group of seventh graders from Lutheran South Academy visit the Capitol. Great to see some HD 29 constituents in this bright group of students!

 

 

School Finance Reform (HB 21)

On April 20th, the House passed House Bill 21 by Public Education Chairman Dan Huberty (R-Kingwood). This is a major school finance proposal that increases the basic allotment from approximately $5,140 to $5,350 per student each year. Additionally, it modernizes and simplifies current transportation funding, updates the decade-year-old pay increases for non-professional staff by modeling it after current funding for professional staff, establishes a two-year Hardship Grant for school districts affected by the expiration of ASATR or other financial hardship, and repeals an antiquated hold-harmless mechanism that dates back to 1993 and benefits only a handful of property-wealthy school districts.

 

HB 21 also creates a new weight to assist school districts in educating students with dyslexia or related disorders, increases the weight for bilingual education by a factor of 0.01, expands CTE funding to technology application courses, and additionally extends this weight to those eligible courses in 8th grade, and reduces recapture by approximately $375 million dollars in 2018-2019. Under HB 21, three main pieces are repealed: (1) the high school allotment, (2) the transportation allotment, and (3) specific state aid for staff salary increases.

 

The passage of HB 21 is a win for our public schools, and I hope the Senate moves quickly to pass this legislation and send it to Governor Abbott for his signature.

 

 

 

 

Tom “Smitty” Smith has been a passionate environmental advocate for Public Citizen for many years and recently announced his retirement. I have enjoyed working with him on a host of issues in the Environmental Regulation Committee, and joined the House in congratulating Smitty on his retirement. Smitty is the gentleman with the hat in the middle of this photo.

 

 

Sanctuary Cities (SB 4)

Several governmental entities in Texas have adopted or may intend to adopt “sanctuary city” policies that purposefully hinder or prohibit local law enforcement cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs and prohibit officers from inquiring about a person’s immigration status. Last week, Republicans in the Texas House passed legislation to prevent local policies from undercutting the enforcement of immigration law made at the federal and state level.

SB 4 enhances public safety by requiring local entities to comply with federal immigration law and to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to remove dangerous criminals who are in the state illegally, and ensures federal immigration laws that are already on the books are followed and enforced by prohibiting local entities from adopting "sanctuary city" policies which pose harmful public safety concerns.

 

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. In 2015, we championed border security policies and 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.

 

 

 

 

On Monday, the Peace Officers Memorial Foundation honored Texas' finest: those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and died in the line of duty. It was a moving ceremony and a great reminder of how blessed we are to live in Texas. Fallen Pearland Police Department Officer Endy Ekpanya's name was read, and we were honored to have his widow Lucy and son Julian at the ceremony. Police Week is the week of May 15th. Be sure to thank an officer for their service – and not only during Police Week!

 

 

Phasing out the Franchise Tax (HB 28)

The Texas House passed HB 28 to incrementally phase out the franchise tax by using excess state revenues to cut the rate of the tax, providing proportionate tax relief for all Texas businesses paying the tax.

 

House Bill 28 includes the following provisions:

  • In December of each odd-numbered year the Comptroller of Public Accounts will determine the ending balance of general revenue related funds from the preceding biennium.
  • The Comptroller will then take that number, or $3.5 Billion, whichever is less, and calculate the rate that would raise that amount. 
  • Finally, the Comptroller will subtract that rate from the existing rate to determine the new, lower rate.
  • Once the Franchise Tax rates reach less than 15%, the Franchise Tax is automatically repealed.  Under the provisions of HB 28, we could see the franchise tax eliminated as soon as 2024.

Now that HB 28 has been approved by the full Texas House, it will move to the Texas Senate for further consideration. We need to be sure Texas can continue being the best state in the country in which to do business.

 

 

 

 

Former Texas Rangers catcher, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, was in the House Chamber! We were recognizing him for his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Congratulations, Pudge!

 

 

Click it or Ticket

Many of you have seen TxDOT’s “Click It or Ticket” billboards: May marks the 15th anniversary of their campaign! Here’s some interesting information from TxDOT on the campaign:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated that there have been 5,068 fewer traffic fatalities because of this life-saving campaign, and over 86,000 serious injuries have been prevented, saving Texas more than $19.3 billion in related economic costs. When the “Click It or Ticket” campaign launched in 2002, only 76% of Texans used their seat belts. Today, nearly 92% buckle up, but that means 8% still don’t and the number of people who don’t buckle up doubles to 16% at night.

 

“Wearing a seat belt is the single most important step you can take to protect yourself in a crash, and in Texas it’s the law,” said Texas Department of Transportation Executive Director James Bass. “People make a lot of excuses for not buckling up, but those excuses will not save your life or prevent you from getting a ticket. The fact is, it only takes a few seconds to buckle up and it could mean the difference between life and death.”

 

Wearing a seat belt helps keep occupants from being ejected in a crash and increases the chances of surviving by 45 percent in a car, and up to 60 percent in a truck. In Texas, the law requires everyone in a vehicle to buckle up or face fines and court costs up to $200. Children younger than 8 years must be in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they’re taller than 4 feet 9 inches. If they aren’t properly restrained, the driver faces fines up to $250 plus court costs.

 

Along with TxDOT’s annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign effort, police departments in Texas and across the nation will step up their enforcement efforts from May 22 to June 4. To learn more about “Click It or Ticket,” visit texasclickitorticket.com.

 

 

 

 

It was an honor to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the Health Sciences and Classroom Building at the UHCL-Pearland campus. We passed legislation last session to make this building a reality and it has been awesome to see this project moving forward so quickly!

 

 

Team Thompson Bill Update

Here's a look at where our bills are in the legislative process. The status for each bill is as of yesterday at 8:30pm:

  1. HB 915: relating to named driver insurance policies and certain related exclusions. This bill passed in the House 126-11 and is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce.
  2. HB 938: relating to the designation of a portion of Farm-to-Market Road 518 in Pearland as the Officer Endy Ekpanya Memorial Highway. This bill passed out of the House 143-0 and is headed over to the Senate.
  3. HB 947:relating to the designation of a portion of Farm-to-Market Road 1462 in Brazoria County as the Lieutenant Colonel Roy Lin Tisdale Memorial Highway. This bill passed in the House and was voted out of the Senate Committee on Transportation 6-0. It will likely be placed on the Senate Local and Uncontested Calendar soon.
  4. HB 991: relating to the selection and summons of prospective grand jurors. This bill is awaiting a hearing in the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence.
  5. HB 1075:relating to the frequency of criminal background checks for sports officials registered with the University Interscholastic League; authorizing a fee. This bill will be heard on the House floor on May 4th.
  6. HB 1110: relating to increasing the punishment for assault committed against certain sports participants. This bill was voted out of the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence 6-0 and will likely be heard on the House floor soon.
  7. HB 1719: relating to continuing education requirements for county tax assessor-collectors. This bill, via its Senate Companion SB 929, has passed both the Senate and the House and is headed to the Governor's desk.
  8. HB 1788:relating to state support for assistance with payment of existing debt on certain bonds issued by school districts. This bill is awaiting a hearing in the House Committee on Public Education. 
  9. HB 1962: relating to the creation of the Brazoria County Municipal Utility District No. 69; granting a limited power of eminent domain; providing authority to issue bonds; providing authority to impose assessments, fees, and taxes. This bill has passed both the House and the Senate and is headed to the Governor's desk.
  10. HB 1963: relating to the creation of the Brazoria County Municipal Utility District No. 70; granting a limited power of eminent domain; providing authority to issue bonds; providing authority to impose assessments, fees, and taxes. This bill passed out of the House 141-3 and is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Committee on Administration.
  11. HB 2125: relating to the establishment of a program for the collection, transportation, and recycling of architectural paint. This bill received a hearing in the House Committee on Environmental Regulation, but likely does not have the votes needed to be voted out.
  12. HB 2285: relating to the establishment of the Texas Institute for Coastal Prairie Research and Education at the University of Houston. This bill will be heard on the House floor on May 4th.
  13. HB 2332: relating to the creation of the Brazoria County Management District No. 1; providing authority to issue bonds; providing authority to impose assessments, fees, and taxes.  This bill passed out of the House 118-16 and is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Committee on Administration.
  14. HB 2958: relating to a temporary moratorium on permits for municipal solid waste facilities. This bill was voted out of the House Committee on Environmental Regulation 8-0 and will likely be placed on the House Local and Consent Calendar soon.
  15. HB 3184: relating to an exemption from payment of tolls for certain vehicles. This bill is awaiting a hearing in the House Committee on Transportation.
  16. HB 3591: relating to the composition of the aviation advisory committee. This bill was voted out of the House Committee on Transportation 11-0 and is waiting for its Senate companion, SB 1522, to catch up before it is heard on the House floor.
  17. HB 4058: relating to systems of prior authorization for the control, management, and disposal of certain nonhazardous, industrial solid wastes for which there are minimum federal requirements. This bill is awaiting a hearing in the House Committee on Environmental Regulation.

 

 

 

 

I got the chance of a lifetime: throwing out the first pitch at an Astros game! Freddie and I had a great time at the game afterwards, and the ‘Stros won!

 

House District 29 Events

  • 5/6 Election Day - For locations on where to vote, visit the County Clerk's webpage.
  • 5/6 Alvin Great Clean-Up - For information and times, click here!
  • 5/6 Alvin's Art Walk - Alvin ISD and the City of Alvin partnered to create a one of kind walk in Alvin's Historic Downtown. For the flyer, click here!
  • 5/11 Pearland ISD's #iwillask Suicide Prevention Event

Don’t forget that Sunday May 15th is Mother's Day!

 

As we are nearing the end of the 85th Legislative Session, please do not hesitate to continue reaching out to me with any concerns you may have on bills coming before me for a vote. With the pace picking up at the Capitol, my staff and I are working diligently to ensure your interests are represented in the House Chamber. All our contact information is below. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

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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