Capitol Update

29 April 2016

Capitol Update: Defending Religious Liberty

 

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and I want to take a moment to thank all of the mothers in our community. We all owe a debt of gratitude to our moms, for caring for us and helping us grow into who we are today.  Let’s all take a moment to pause and either thank or remember them for their love and devotion on this special day.  And with that, on to an update from your State Capitol…

Defending Religious Liberty

Recently, we have seen numerous stories and op-eds in the news, both at the state and national level, which have aimed their sights on religious liberty laws enacted by various states around the country.  Our freedom of religion, which is enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, is one of the bedrock principles which help define who we are as Americans. The freedom of religion is critical to our representative government, and without it, all of our other freedoms are undermined.

During the next legislative session, I fully expect we will see numerous bills filed on this issue, and I am confident that we will find a way to continue to uphold the religious liberty of all Texans. As an active member of my church, I believe it is important we endeavor to look for ways to protect our First Amendment rights so that these freedoms cannot be diluted by intrusive federal regulations now or in the future.  Conversations are ongoing, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on this matter next session.

 House Interim Charges: House Committee on Economic and Small Business Development

This week in our series on the House Interim Charges we will be taking a look at the House Committee on Economic and Small Business Development, which is responsible for overseeing all legislation aimed at helping Texas recruit and retain businesses and create jobs. The Committee will start by studying the impacts of declining oil and gas prices on various regions around the state, and will consider the impacts on local communities most dependent upon oil and gas activity. The Committee will then evaluate the strategies used by local governments to attract businesses to their communities and examine ways the state can leverage these practices and provide support.

The Committee will then study opportunities and financial incentives for expansion and growth of small businesses in Texas. They will examine if adequate resources and capital exist for small businesses, including an analysis of any regulatory or tax hurdles, and provide recommendations to alleviate these burdens. They will also evaluate Texas’ competitiveness with other states in recruiting and cultivating high-growth, high-tech industries, fostering economic development, and creating new jobs. As a part of this, the Committee will evaluate if the current incentive programs assist or hinder that state’s ability to compete with other states for economic growth and sustainability.

Reminders

The mobile office will hit the road for the month of May, starting on May 4th at the Leon County Courthouse in Centerville from 9:00 am until 11:00 am, and then in Madisonville at the Madison County Courthouse Annex from 1:30 pm until 3:30 pm. After that, on May 18th, we will be in Crockett at the Houston County Courthouse Annex from 9:00 am until 11:00 am, and then in Groveton at the Trinity County Courthouse from 1:30 pm until 3:30 pm. We will wrap up the mobile office for the month of May at the San Augustine County Courthouse from 9:00 am until 11:00 am on May 25th.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. We look forward to the opportunity to hear your concerns and help you navigate state government. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762 or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.

 

 

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