Insider's Report Vol. 7, No. 19
Legislature approaches end-of-session deadlines
The end of this week marks a major procedural deadline in the House of Representatives. Thursday, May 14, was the last day to consider any House bills, except those of local substance, on second reading and today is the last day for them to pass on third reading. With over 300 bills remaining on the calendar, I have been on the House floor every day this week from 10:00 a.m. until as late as midnight working to pass several substantial pieces of legislation that protect taxpayers and promote our state's economy, while also opposing bad bills that do not represent the views of my constituents.
As an advocate of gun rights, I was successful in passing HB 267 to allow the purchase of firearms in all fifty states. Current law only allows a Texan to buy a gun, ammunition or accessories in a state that borders Texas. This bill is the perfect example of one of my constituents, Dwight Beck of Angleton, bringing to my attention the need to fix our state laws after he was unable to purchase a rifle in Mississippi while on a hunting trip.
Another active participant in the legislative process, Marshall Hurley of Sweeny, was the driving force behind an important bill, HB 3551, that I passed this week. He contacted my office several times last year and met with me in October to explain the challenges he encounters as a landlord. Due to the lengthy eviction process, renters often destroy his property in retaliation and are not held responsible. After working through various legislative options to find a proposal with the most likely chance of success, he was instrumental in helping me craft a bill that requires renters to be warned in a "notice to vacate" that destruction of property will result in criminal penalties.
I was also proud to author HB 1510, a bill aimed at saving the lives of newborns, which has passed both chambers and now awaits the Governor's signature. This proposal was brought to me by Jennifer Monical and the Southwest SIDS Research Institute in Lake Jackson, who presented staggering statistics regarding the prevalence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and the need to continue raising awareness about it. This bill requires that information regarding SIDS prevention be added to an existing pamphlet that is currently required to be sent home with parents of newborns.
Earlier this week, I helped pass another bill that affects a great number of families in my district and across the State of Texas. House Bill 1801 will allow school supplies and backpacks to be included among eligible tax-free items during the "Back to School" Sales Tax Holiday in August. Currently, only certain clothing items are eligible. During these tough economic times when Texans are forced to cut back on spending, this bill will help provide parents with some financial relief as they face back-to-school expenses.
I appreciate all the feedback I have received from my constituents regarding legislative proposals that impact you. As the Legislature approaches the final two weeks of session, I continue to rely on your input to effectively represent your interests at the Capitol.