Insider's Report Vol. 7, No. 24
Part one of two
Every session my most important pieces of legislation are developed from ideas brought to me by the citizens of Brazoria County. I am honored and fortunate to represent such a vocal and active constituency. My passage of the following bills this session is indicative of our invaluable collaboration to ensure the prosperity of House District 25. I will be sending a follow-up newsletter in the near future that completes this list of local accomplishments.
TDCJ Land Transfer to Airport - HB 3202 - In working with the Brazoria County Economic Development Alliance, the Commissioners Court, and airport manager Jeff Bilyeu, I passed a bill authorizing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to transfer to Brazoria County a land tract located next to the airport. This 332-acre parcel is perfectly situated to create economic opportunities that will attract businesses to the area and increase our tax base, while utilizing and expanding upon airport services. Future plans for the property include continued commercial development, new business construction, and a possible detention pond to support airport expansion in response to new businesses.
Brazoria County Jail Magistrate - HB 1750 - Sheriff Charles Wagner brought to my attention the ineffective use of tax dollars involved in the transport and holding of an arrested individual who is awaiting arraignment. In times when a Justice of the Peace judge is not readily available due to other responsibilities and demands of their office, our local law enforcement must transport the individual across the county and, in other instances, the county must hold them in jail until a judge is available. This bill will allow the Brazoria County Commissioners Court to appoint a jail magistrate to be located at the county jail to perform these duties, which will decrease transportation and jail-holding time, reduce costs to the county, and more effectively utilize the service of our law enforcement officers.
Brazoria County Associate Judge - HB 3554 - In an effort to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our local district courts, District Judge Randy Hufstetler worked with me to expand the authorities of the Brazoria County District Court associate judge in handling certain civil and criminal matters referred from a district judge.
School Bus Evacuation Training - HB 374 (passed as a part of SB 300) - During a meeting with Columbia-Brazoria ISD, they brought to my attention an onerous and expensive state-mandated school bus evacuation training requirement. I filed legislation and helped pass a related bill that strongly encourages, rather than mandates, this training and outlines practical measures for a district to follow.
Texas Toad - HCR 18 - Under the guidance of Danbury School District Librarian Ace Filipp, the fourth grade students of Danbury Elementary School engaged in a fun and creative project to learn about their state government and the legislative process. They discovered that the State of Texas did not have an official state amphibian and, in turn, held a schoolwide election to select the amphibian most deserving of this recognition. At their request, I filed and passed this resolution to grant the Texas Toad the distinguishable honor of Official State Amphibian of Texas.
Freeport LNG - HB 3555 - At the request of Freeport LNG, I passed this bill to allow the facility to more efficiently and effectively manage its operations. This legislation protects the terminal from unnecessary regulations by allowing it to maintain its status as a non-gas utility.
Sweeny Hospital District - HB 878 - In a collaborative effort with the Sweeny Hospital District board of directors and CEO, I authored this bill to update and expand the hospital district's enabling legislation. Specifically, this bill allows the district to secure repayment of bonds through a combination of ad valorem taxes and revenue as opposed to current law limitations of using one or the other. It also allows the district to borrow funds from a bank or lending institution.