Today is sine die, the end of the 85th Texas Legislature. It has been an honor representing my constituents in Austin, and I look forward to returning to my district to get back to working in the communities I represent. Below are some final updates from the last week of the 85th Texas Legislature.
Redistricting Case Update
After numerous unanswered requests to hold a committee hearing on redistricting in light of a federal court's ruling that the Republican-led Legislature drew congressional and state house districts in a way that intentionally diluted the power of minority voters, a federal judge has asked if Texas wants to "voluntarily undertake redistricting" in a special session. Read my statement in response to Texas' decision not to convene a special session to address redistricting:
Read more about this issue in the Dallas Morning News and The Texas Tribune.
Texas Legislature Passes Budget
The Texas House and Senate have finalized a budget, the only action the Legislature is constitutionally required to do during a legislative session. I was one of fourteen legislators in the House to vote against the budget. Read more about my decision to vote 'no' in the statement below:
The Texas Tribune published an article describing the final budget and the unfunded pre-K mandate in greater detail.
HB 674 Heads to Governor's Desk
A bill I authored, House Bill 674, passed out of the Texas House and Senate with overwhelming support. If Governor Abbott signs the bill into law, out-of-school suspensions for students in pre-K through second grade will be banned in Texas. I am very proud to have been able to get this important piece of legislation through the legislative process. Read more about House Bill 674 in this article in the Dallas Voice.
House Bill 245 Heads to Governor's Desk
My House Bill 245 passed out of the Texas House by a vote of 112-21 and out of the Texas Senate, with the help of Senator John Whitmire, by a vote of 28-3. If Governor Greg Abbott signs it into law, Texas will lead the nation in reporting peace officer deaths and officer-involved shootings. Read more about this critical piece of legislation in the Houston Chronicle and The Root.
Texas Savings Promotion Act Almost Texas Law
House Bill 471 is awaiting Governor Abbott's signature. If he signs the bill into law, banks and credit unions will be able to operate prize-linked savings programs in which individuals can win prizes, including cash, for making deposits into their own savings accounts. A constitutional amendment will be on the ballot in November for voters to give this innovative policy final approval. Read more about why Texas needs the Texas Savings Promotion Act in the Dallas Business Journal and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Update on Housing Issue in West Dallas
The City of Dallas has to be proactive and embrace smart policies to prevent involuntary displacement in West Dallas. Our city government should use all the tools at its disposal to protect its citizens. Read these articles in the Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Observer for more information on the ongoing situation in West Dallas.
West Dallas Voter Fraud Update
Read the latest article in the Dallas Morning News regarding allegations of mail-in vote theft in West Dallas. Defrauding senior citizens and stealing their votes is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. WFAA recently published an article describing the need to employ all resources necessary to investigate the suspected voter fraud.
Dallas & The Legislature: A Recap of the 85th Texas Legislature
I will be participating in The Texas Tribune's Dallas & The Legislature: A Recap of the 85th Session on June 2, 2017. The event is part of a series of events focusing on the major policy debates of the 85th Texas Legislature and what they mean for the state’s largest cities and surrounding communities. Watch live here on June 2, 2017.
Although there will be no more Capitol Reports now that the 85th Texas Legislature has come to a close, stay tuned for updates on what is happening in my district and in Austin during the interim period before the 86th Texas Legislature.