April 6, 2018

85th Legislative Interim Update 4.6.18

85th Legislative Interim Update 4.6.18

Did you know that April is the Texas Fruit and Vegetable Month, the Child Safety Month, Minority Cancer Awareness Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month?  I mention this because while April is full of bluebonnets and sunny afternoons, it is also  a time to highlight very important issues throughout our community.  This newsletter is to further share with you some of the on goings within House District 23 and in Texas and therefore hope you find it informative.

House District 23 Benefits from Landmark Deal With JSW Steel (USA) Inc. To Develop Local Steel Industry In Baytown, Texas

Just recently a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed to develop and augment the steel industry in Texas. With this agreement JSW Steel (USA) Inc. has agreed to consider an investment of $500 million in phases in developing its steel manufacturing infrastructure in Baytown, Texas. This investment will be used to expand the company's Plate & Pipe Mill unit. A Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) grant offer of $3.4 million has been extended to JSW Steel (USA) Inc.

This new deal is sure to bring a substantial amount of economic growth to the Baytown area as well as House District 23. "We are going to change steelmaking in the United States, right here in Baytown, Texas," said John Hirtz, President and CEO of JSW  Steel USA. "There won't be anything like it in the U.S., or in the world for decades to come."

"The Memorandum signed by Greg Abbott and JSW USA is part of our long term strategy to enhance our U.S. footprint," said Mr. Parth Jindal of JSW Group. "It reiterates our commitment to stay invested and grow in the U.S. market. It also provides JSW USA an opportunity to participate in USA's infrastructure development and job creation priorities. Access to natural gas at extremely economical prices and the abundant availability of scrap steel in Texas make conditions very conducive for manufacturing through the Electric Arc Furnace route. JSW Steel (USA) Inc. wishes to create a world class fully integrated steel complex that will bring precision manufacturing of high quality steel plate and pipe to Texas, USA."

JSW USA operates one of the widest steel plate & pipe mills in North America. Strategically located in Baytown, Texas the unit services the needs of the energy, petrochemicals, defense and other heavy equipment industries in USA who need high quality carbon plate.


Hundreds of Texas A&M Galveston Students

Lend a Helping Hand to Galveston Residents During the Big Event as part of the nation's largest one-day, student run community service project, hundreds of students from Texas A&M University at Galveston participated in the 24th annual Big Event today, Saturday, March 24 across Galveston.

The Big Event originally began at Texas A&M University in College Station in 1982, as a way for the university and students to give something back to the community that is so supportive. Students work on a variety of  projects like cleaning yards, painting houses and planting trees.

Col. Michael Fossum, chief operating officer of Texas A&M Galveston and former NASA astronaut, joined the students at several locations helping to dig a trench at the USS Stewart at Seawolf Park, clean up the Galveston Community Garden and plant a  tree at a neighborhood home.

In 1994, this Aggie tradition was started in Galveston to inspire students to get out into the community and make a difference.  "The Big Event has been a part of  my life for the last 3 years and I am grateful to have seen both myself and the  organization grow," said Big Event Director Jessica LeMoine.  "The Aggie Core Value of Selfless Service is how I feel I can make the most difference.  Getting out into the Galveston community is very rewarding and there is a new story to be told at  every location."

The Big Event hosted 20 sites in the Galveston area this year.  "It's beautiful to see students using their time to give back to our community," said Big Event Public Relations Executive Denae Johnson.  "If it wasn't for the Galveston community we wouldn't be able to have such a vibrant campus. That's why A&M's traditions, like The Big Event, make me proud to be an Aggie."

Staff advisor for the Big Event Taylor Kemp hopes to see the Big Event continue to grow and influence the lives of so many students at Texas A&M Galveston as well as the Galveston community.  "Big Event is one of the best ways to expose students to volunteer opportunities as well as give them a chance to use their gifts and talents to make a difference in the community."

If you would like to apply to have your project be considered or if you would like to donate items, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Requests for sites are not guaranteed, but each application will be considered.


Sanctuary Cities

During the 84th Legislative Session, Senate Bill 4 was passed which banned entities, such as cities, counties and colleges, from implementing policies to refuse to enforce federal immigration laws. After its bill signing in May 2017, Texas was sued by various local governments who were trying to stop the law from going into effect. The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently ruled the majority of the bill was constitutional, and Texas could enforce the law. An injunction is still in place  on a provision in the bill which punishes local officials for policies that would prohibit or limit enforcement of immigration laws specifically. However, they are still prohibited from adopting or enforcing policies which specifically prohibit or limit enforcement of immigration laws.

Sunset Commission

The Sunset Advisory Commission, helps to keep our state's government efficient, by requiring the existence of an agency to be legislatively justified and to go through the Sunset process approximately every 12 years. The Commission will soon hold its first hearing on April 25th and hear reports on the Texas Medical Board, Texas Historical Commission, Texas Veterans Commission, and Behavioral Health agencies including the Boards of Marriage and Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers, and Licensed Professional Counselors. If you would like to find out more information on these agencies or learn how you can participate, through submitting comments online or attending the hearing you can visit https://www.sunset.texas.gov/meetings.