January 27, 2017

Legislative Update (1.24.17)


Opening day of the 85th regular session of the Texas Legislature



The Legislature of the State of Texas, operates under a biennial system, and convenes its regular sessions at noon on the second Tuesday in January of odd-numbered years. The maximum duration of a regular session is 140 days. The governor is given authority under the state constitution to convene the legislature at other times during the biennium. Such sessions are known as called or special sessions and are reserved for legislation that the governor deems critically important in the conduct of state affairs. Called sessions are limited to a period of 30 days, during which the legislature is permitted to pass laws only on subjects submitted by the governor in calling for the session.



Texas House Members Sends Washington $2.8 Billion Bill for Border Security Costs


I was honored to join fellow Texas House members in calling on the federal government to reimburse Texas taxpayers for $2.8 billion in costs resulting from Washington's failure to secure the border.


Securing our nation's borders is a federal responsibility, but Washington's failure has forced Texas to take action on our own for many years. As a result, Texas taxpayers are carrying a tremendous financial burden that should be shared equally by all Americans.


We are asking Washington to live up to its responsibility of securing the border, and to reimburse Texas for the $2.8 billion our citizens have spent cleaning up the federal government's mess.



In the News: UTMB awarded $10 Million from CDC to help stop spread of vector-borne disease Will help fight diseases caused by Zika, West Nile and other


To help stop the spread of diseases carried by arthropod vectors such as mosquitoes and ticks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded $10 million to The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston to establish the Western Gulf Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases. The Center's work will protect public health in the region, the nation and beyond.


The award is a part of the CDC's funding provided under the Zika Response and Preparedness Appropriations Act of 2016.


Partners in the new Center of Excellence will include The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas at El Paso, Texas A&M AgriLife, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, Vanderbilt University, the University of Colorado and the University of Houston as well as Harris County and 5 other local public health agencies, and the Texas Department of State Health Services.



In the News: Carnival's Latest and Greatest Ship to Call Galveston Home in 2018


After 16 years of cultivating the cruise business in the State of Texas, the Port of Galveston is pleased to announce that Carnival Cruise Lines will  homeport  their newest, largest, and most innovative ship, Carnival Vista, in Galveston.  The Carnival Vista will operate year round service to the Caribbean beginning September 2018.


Beginning September 23, 2018, the 133,500-ton ship will offer two distinctly different week-long western Caribbean itineraries from the Port of Galveston, visiting the region's most popular destinations. The first itinerary includes calls at Montego Bay; Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, while the other features visits to Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan); Belize; and Cozumel.



Texas City Town Hall

Thank you to the Texas City/La Marque Chamber of Commerce for allowing me to host, what was the first of what will be many, town halls.



Texas Budget


The budget that was recently introduced by Texas House Leadership is the initial milestone for developing and inevitably implementing a fiscally sound budget.


The proposed budget increases state spending by less than 1 percent while still increasing resources for child protection, mental health, and public education.


The House is committed to producing a budget that is fiscally conservative while also meeting our commitments and obligations as a state, such as child protection, education and border security.


The House took the first step towards producing a balanced budget that reflects the priorities of the Texas House while not increasing taxes or using money from the Rainy Day Fund, which is projected to have a balance of $11.9 billion at the end of the next budget cycle.


This is the very beginning of the budget process. I am confident that the Texas House will ultimately pass a conservative budget that Texans can be proud of and is fiscally prudent, while still adhering to its many responsibilities as a state.