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Friday, January 23, 2015

Bonnen Sworn In as 84th Legislature Convenes

Insider's Report Vol. 10 No. 10

Last Tuesday, with my wife and sons at my side, I took my oath of office as State Representative for the State of Texas' 84th legislative session. This will be my tenth session serving the constituents of southern Brazoria and Matagorda counties and I truly consider this a blessing.  

As legislators await new committee assignments, I am more ready than ever to get the ball rolling. I took the opportunity to personally introduce my staff to many of our local education, community, and business leaders in House District 25 as we spent two days in December hosting roundtable discussions to prepare for the session.  These conversations laid the groundwork for many of my legislative initiatives this session.   

My top priorities for the 84th session include a fiscally responsible budget, protecting our state from border-related criminal activity, and ensuring that Texas has the best public education system for its students. I have joined Texas House leaders in introducing a budget for the 2016 Fiscal Year that keeps spending at a flat rate, eliminates gas-tax diversions, and leaves almost $14 billion unspent that can be used towards investing in education, transportation, and tax relief. This proposed budget gives us a strong platform to decide our spending priorities and enable citizens to hold onto their hard-earned dollars. 

I am already working on legislation that I will personally file to support our local economy and Port Freeport's activity through the creation of heavy-lift highway corridors.  Responding to a tragedy that took the life of Joe and Sarah Roth's mother, I am authoring a bill to make construction zones safer by lowering speed limits.  In a continued partnership with Brazoria County Commissioner Dude Payne and our county leadership, I am committed to making our waterways safer and cleaner by strengthening our abandoned vessel laws.  I am also filing legislation to notify purchasers of property on water storage lakes that the lake level may fluctuate as a result of those lawfully exercising their right to use the stored water, such as our hard-working rice farmers in Matagorda County.  In response to the families of murder and sexual assault victims, I am working to increase the duration of time between parole considerations for the inmates charged with these egregious crimes.  These are only a few of the many legislative initiatives I will be pushing this session on behalf of House District 25.

This year also brings exciting new leadership to the Texas Capitol. For the first time in 14 years, we have a new Governor Greg Abbott. We also have a new Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller, General Land Commissioner, Department of Agriculture Commissioner and Railroad Commissioner. I am committed to working with all these elected leaders to create an even better Texas. 

I also need your help throughout the 84th legislative session. I encourage you to stay engaged in the legislative process, pay attention to what is happening within the Texas Legislature, and share your thoughts with me on these matters. Your feedback is what enables me to be an effective legislator. You can also always reach out to me if you need help with any other state matter and my staff will be happy to assist you.  Remember that we work for you and without you we would not succeed.