Breitbart, March 17 - The Texas House has passed HB 10, an omnibus anti-human trafficking bill. The bill passed on second reading on Monday and then third reading Tuesday morning. Both votes were unanimous and bipartisan.
HB 10, was brought forward by a large bipartisan coalition of House Members, authored by Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi), Rep. Oscar Longoria (D-Mission), Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound), and Rep. Patricia Harless (R-Spring), and co-authored by Rep. Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston), Rep. Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood), Rep. Angie Chen Button (R-Richardson), Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), Rep. Tony Dale (R-Cedar Park), Rep. Sarah Davis (R-West University Place), Rep. Marsha Farney (R-Georgetown), Rep. Allen Fletcher (R-Cypress), Rep. Mark Keough (R-The Woodlands), Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford), Rep. Will Metcalf (R-Conroe), Rep. Rick Miller (R-Sugar Land), Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr. (D-Palmview), Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), Rep. Debbie Riddle (R-Tomball), Rep. Phil Stephenson (R-Wharton), Rep. Hubert Vo (D-Houston), and Rep. James White (R-Woodville).
HCRP's Ballot Security Committee took a trip to Austin this week where Committee Chairman Alan Vera, Ed Johnson, Carol Kitson and Colleen Vera were able to voice the Party's view on legislation dealing with elections and election law. Alan testified in support of Jim Murphy's voter registration residency bill (HB 1096), and argued against a bill to do away with straight party voting, as well as a few Democrat initiatives including one that would force the registrar to include a note with reasons for the rejection to the rejected voter. The committee also showed support for a bill on interstate sharing of voter registration data to prevent voters from voting in more than one state.
Photo from Texas Legislature Online
Rep. Bohac Authors Legislation to Beef Up Border Security and Crackdown on Drug Trafficking and Human Smuggling
Texas House of Representatives - State Representative Dwayne Bohac announces authorship of two bills that significantly strengthen border security and help law enforcement crackdown on border-related crime. HB 11, the “Stronger Border, Safer Texas Act,” is an omnibus bill that will dramatically increase the number of Department of Public Safety (DPS) Troopers in the border region, impose tougher penalties on smugglers, and provide more resources for police statewide. HB 1450 will establish the Texas Border Security Division which will focus on busting up criminal cartels throughout the southern border region.
Brietbart - It was standing room only in a marathon meeting on the Texas House floor. Six proposed early childhood education bills were presented and debated before the House Committee on Public Education on Tuesday, March 10. The biggest issue of the day was half-day versus full-day of pre-Kindergarten (pre-K), although a frontrunner emerged in House Bill 4 (HB 4) authored by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Houston).
Last month, during his State of the State address, Governor Greg Abbott placed early education as his top emergency items for the 84th Legislature to undertake. Although the nationwide push from the Obama administration is towards full-day Head Start-based programs, Abbott ran on a platform of sensible early education, a manageable, approach that would bump up pre-K programs by building upon what already works statewide. Many felt Huberty’s proposed legislation was most in line with the Governor’s vision.
The Woodlands Villager - State Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, has co-authored a bill that would allow parents of children in a failing school to petition for the reconstitution, repurposing, alternative management or closure of low-performing public campuses after two years instead of the current statute of five years. Senator Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, is the primary author.
“Senator Taylor and I are working shoulder-to-shoulder to advance and strengthen Texas’ current parent empowerment law,” Creighton stated in a release. “Parents shouldn’t be forced to subject their children to schools that are clearly failing to meet their needs.”
Bellaire - River Oaks - West University Examiner - State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, a Republican from north Harris County, filed a bill today that will make court records more accessible to the public and save people money. Senate Bill 967, Bettencourt said, would allow people to access and print at no charge non-certified copies of electronic court records. They now pay 15 cents for each page the copy, and sometimes court records number in the hundreds of pages.
“If you can get government records on the internet,” Bettencourt said, “you should be able to download them for free.”
The Pasadena Citizen- Entities exercising eminent domain authority could be on the hook for attorney and expert fees if they offer below market value for property under a bill considered by a Senate panel Monday. SB 474, by Brenham Senator Lois Kolkhorst, would require those payments if it is later determined they initially offered more than 10 percent less than the market value of a property seized through eminent domain. Kolkhorst said she wants to make sure that property owners without vast resources don't feel like they are priced out of the justice system.
"The common person cannot afford it," she said. "This bill is for the average Texan.
Cypress Creek Mirror - Nearly 150 senior adults had the opportunity to help influence policy during a trip to the state capitol organized by Precinct 4 Commissioner R. Jack Cagle’s Senior Adult Program and Fun4Seniors.
Precinct 4 residents were joined by seniors from all over Texas who converged on the front steps of the state capitol for Senior Day Feb. 17, a statewide event arranged by the Texas Senior Advocacy Coalition, which works to develop and promote public policy supporting senior adults.
Kicking off the event was Attorney General Ken Paxton who delivered the keynote address. Following the speech, seniors had the opportunity to voice their concerns and meet representatives including Patricia Harless, Dan Huberty, Dwayne Bohac, Gary Elkins and Senfronia Thompson.
KXAN Austin - In an ever changing state, Texas authorities need to stay up to date on everything from drones to human trafficking. This session, House Speaker Joe Straus created the Select Committee on Emerging Issues in Texas Law Enforcement. In the proclamation, Straus requested the committee focus on a broad range of topics that include: body camera, drone surveillance, border security, human trafficking, active shooters, and the ongoing mental health crisis.
Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress, was chosen as chair and Rep. Dawnna Duke, D-Austin, is vice-chair.
“The committee shall investigate and review the training and professional needs of law enforcement in the state of Texas, including the award and sufficiency of law enforcement training grants, methods of training, and types of training-including training in emerging or changing threats such as human trafficking, mental health crisis and confrontation, organized crime, and critical incident shooting,” Straus said in his proclamation.
Dallas Morning News - Texas Republicans are moving to stamp out Democratic challenges to their policies, particularly in the legal realm. Some GOP leaders want to strip heavily Democratic Travis County of an anti-corruption unit that has pursued high-profile Republicans such as Tom DeLay and Kay Bailey Hutchison. Gov. Greg Abbott and freshman Sen. Don Huffines of Dallas seek to rein in big-city local governments that they say are imposing “nanny state” rules. And two GOP lawmakers have introduced measures that would deny Travis County judges their usual first crack at deciding multibillion-dollar lawsuits over school finance and politically fraught battles over redistricting.
...Rep. Mike Schofield, a GOP freshman from Houston who introduced the House version of the bill, said the Democratic judges in Travis County have outsize influence. “At the district court level is where you frame the issues” that set bounds for later rulings by the Supreme Court, he said.