Capitol Office: (512) 463-0564
District Office: (979) 848-1770
Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bonnen Authors Voter ID Bill

Insider's Report Vol. 7, No. 9

Files legislation to protect businesses from delayed highway projects

It has been an exciting and busy week at the Capitol!  I had the great privilege of welcoming the Brazoria County Day delegation to the House of Representatives on Tuesday.  I applaud the delegation for their hard work in educating state leaders about the pressing needs of the county and I have received many expressions of appreciation for all of the delicious boiled shrimp!  The Lake Jackson Volunteer Fire Department's display of their "Texas flag" fire truck in front of the Capitol made the day even more memorable.

I also had the honor of recognizing the volunteer motorcycle riders of the Brazoria County Cavalry with HR 622 on the House floor and extended the Legislature's appreciation to them for their support of our soldiers, veterans, and first responders in times of sorrow and in times of celebration.  Their efforts to honor our heroes and comfort those in mourning have touched many lives and healed many hearts.

Today marks the final day to file a bill during the 81st Legislative Session.  In preparation I filed several pieces of legislation this week that are vitally important to my constituents and all Texans.

Specifically, I authored HB 3556 to address the problem of fraudulent voting and restore integrity to our electoral process.  My "Voter ID" bill will require voters to provide proof of their identification before casting a ballot.  I also co-authored HB 47 and HB 125, which require proof of citizenship when registering to vote and a photo ID to vote at the polls, as well as HB 410 that calls for the removal of names of the deceased from the list of registered voters.

I feel strongly that all of these bills contain protections to ensure that a citizen who is legally allowed to vote is not disenfranchised.  As an appointed member of the Elections Committee, I will work for the passage of this much-needed legislation to make certain that every vote really does count.

I also filed HB 2533 to provide relief to businesses that are adversely affected by the delayed completion of a highway project.  This bill would require the Texas Department of Transportation to collect punitive damages from the contractor responsible for not fulfilling contractual obligations and distribute this money to business entities who submit a claim to the department.

When a business can rely on a contractor to meet the projected timeline for completion of a project, the owner can usually plan accordingly and take precautions to ensure the vitality of their business.  However, when the project goes well beyond its deadline, such as the widening of SH 35 in West Columbia, area business owners experience a revenue loss beyond their estimates and often are unable to recover.  HB 2533 would give businesses recourse and also incentivize highway contractors to meet their obligations.