I was a Joint-Sponsor of SB 812 by Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. (D-Brownsville) that was sponsored in the House by Representative Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston). SB 812 helps protect homeowners from having their property unfairly appraised when rebuilding after a natural disaster such as Hurricane Harvey. SB 812 fixes the law to ensure that any homeowner whose property is damaged due to any federal natural disaster and receives federal funds to help rebuild their home is not unfairly subject to having their repairs deemed “new improvements” under their property tax appraisal. Prior to SB 812, the Legislature had to add each federal disaster one by one. Now, each federal natural disaster will automatically be covered under Texas law. The Governor signed this bill into law on May 7th.
I authored HB 1516 that was sponsored in the Senate by Senator Borris Miles (D-Houston). HB 1516 removes the requirement of Texas Southern University (TSU) to go back to the legislature every five years to get re-approved for a student athletics fee already approved by the student body. The athletics fee helps pay for scholarships, coaches, and a vibrant athletics program at TSU. Having a vibrant Tiger athletics program will be key to bringing Football back onto campus. The Governor signed this bill into law on June 4th.
Key components of HB 2095 that I authored were included in Representative Four Price‘s (R-Amarillo) HB 18, which I was a Joint-Author of. This bill increases the behavioral health resources for students through psychologists, registered nurses, clinical social workers, and a family therapist on campus.
HB 18 continues the work I have done since 2011 to improve behavioral health services in our schools. In 2011, I sponsored legislation that allowed schools to implement training for their teachers on behavioral health and refer students who may need help to appropriate resources. In 2013, I authored legislation that made that training for teachers mandatory. I have continued working on legislation that has provided better behavioral health in schools prior to this session—including last interim as chair of the County Affairs Committee. Leading up to this session, the County Affairs Committee looked into what could be done to improve behavioral health in our schools. One of the Committee’s recommendations was to increase the number of behavioral health professionals at our schools. HB 18 helps make that recommendation a reality. The Governor signed this bill into law on June 2nd.
I was a Joint-Author of HB 2755 by Representative Four Price (R-Amarillo), which allows local public health districts to recover the cost of inspecting and licensing food vendors in their locale. Under the old law, local public health districts were arbitrarily limited on what they could charge for inspection and licensing of food vendors. This was causing the local public health authority to lose money by providing a vital public service. HB 2755 allows the local authority to charge an amount to cover the cost of the service they are providing. This bill will help ensure that the food the public buys from restaurants and food trucks is safe for consumption. This bill went through the County Affairs Committee that I chair, was signed by the Governor on June 5th, and goes into effect on September 1st of this year.
I will continue to update you as the Governor signs my bills into law during the coming weeks, and will provide a full session wrap-up after the veto period has ended. Thank you all for your support this session.
You’re Invited: June 15th
What To Watch This Week:
Our video of the week is from Washington Post: Opinion | President Trump says he supports LGBTQ Americans. His record says otherwise.
“When accepting the Republican nomination for president, Donald Trump promised to be an ally of LGBTQ Americans.” Now that he’s in the White House, Post producer Kate Woodsome notes, Trump’s policies have contradicted that promise. Several Trump administration regulations, executive orders and personnel appointments are reversing Obama-era civil rights protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people.”
You can watch below or click here.
Cartoon of the Week
Song of the Week