Capitol Office: (512) 463-0564
District Office: (979) 848-1770
Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bonnen Considers Testimony on Voter ID Legislation

Insider's Report Vol. 7, No. 13

Authored-bills pass the House

At the start of session, the Speaker of the House honored me with an appointment to the House Elections Committee, which is considering one of the most contentious issues before the Legislature this session.

The Senate recently passed a Voter ID bill that is now before the Elections committee.  This week, I had the privilege of being a part of democracy at its finest as I heard hundreds of witnesses offer their testimony in committee hearings on Monday until 1:30 a.m. and again on Tuesday until 2:30 a.m.  I also had the opportunity to explain my own Voter ID legislation, HB 3556, which is very similar to the Senate version.

As I listened to both sides of the debate on this issue, it was clear to me that Texas must pass a Voter ID bill so that we can ensure that every vote truly does count.  The Voter ID bills before the Legislature are crafted in such a way that there are many options available to a voter in proving their identity and in no way are we disenfranchising voters.  I look forward to sending this bill to the House floor for consideration and further debate by the full chamber.

It has also been a productive week as many of my bills have favorably moved through the legislative process.  The House of Representatives passed my HB 2073 that will require the General Land Office Commissioner to coordinate with federal, state and local governments in developing an erosion response plan to protect our coastal communities.  I also passed HB 675, which was brought to me by Dr. Tom Pruett of Lake Jackson, to allow retired optometrists to provide charity care by offering them reduced licensure requirements.

The House passed my HB 374, which repeals the onerous school bus evacuation training requirements mandated of our schools and instead strongly encourages them to define and conduct training standards on a local level.  This is a bill supported by all of the schools districts within my legislative district and it was specifically brought to my attention during a meeting with Columbia-Brazoria ISD.

Next week, the House of Representatives is expected to consider the state budget bill on Thursday and Friday.  During the expected long hours of debate, I will be working to ensure that funds are appropriated to a number of vital projects and programs in Brazoria County, including the rebuilding of Bluewater Highway, mental health and substance abuse initiatives, and funding to cover the losses incurred by Brazosport College due to Hurricane Ike.

As a result, I am unfortunately unable to take part in a very exciting event taking place in our district - the dedication of "The Capitol of Texas Park - A Walk Through the Birth of Texas."  I encourage you to witness history by attending the dedication on Friday, April 17,  2:00 p.m., at the corner of 17th and Brazos Streets in West Columbia.