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02 July 2015

Capitol Update: Independence Day & Federal Overreach

I hope everyone had a relaxing and safe Independence Day with friends and family. I also want to take a moment to say thank you to all that have served our nation and are currently serving that allow us to celebrate our nation’s independence each year.

This past Legislative Session was extremely successful for veterans and their families. While there was some concern about eliminating certain benefits for family members of veterans under the Hazlewood Act, this benefit was kept unchanged after much debate on the House floor. At the time of enlistment, the Hazlewood Act is often used by recruiters to help convince potential recruits to join. Eliminating this benefit for those that were told they would be eligible was simply not an option. I also coauthored HCR 70 that passed unanimously, and approves the construction of a monument to honor veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at the state Capitol Complex. Last year, a Vietnam War memorial was opened on the Capitol grounds approximately 40 years after the war ended. This long delay was simply unacceptable, so steps were taken to make sure our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families are honored in a timely manner.

Federal Overreach
Recently, the federal government has continued its disastrous overreach into state’s rights with multiple court decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court that effect Texans. One critical example of this was the ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide where five Supreme Court justices acting as legislators in black robes just ignored the will of the people of Texas. Less than 10 years ago, 76 percent of Texans voted to amend our state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In my view, this recent ruling is an assault on the institution of marriage, as recognized by our civil society for thousands of years, and undermines the 10th Amendment and the rule of law. This is a matter for each state to decide and not the federal government to force down our throats.

Final Numbers
Now that the Governor’s veto period has concluded, the final numbers for bills signed into law has become clear. During the recent 84th Legislative Session, the members of the Texas House and Senate filed 6,476 bills and joint resolutions with only 1,332, or just over 20 percent, of these bills ultimately passing both chambers. The governor vetoed 41 of these bills. Each of the bills passed have varying effective dates, but the common dates are: effective immediately, effective September 1st, or effective January 1st. If you have any questions about the effective date of a specific bill, or questions about new laws, please feel free to contact my office.

For the convenience of constituents not wanting to travel far from home, the mobile office will continue its regular Wednesday travel schedule throughout the District even now that session has concluded.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at (936) 634-2762 or (512) 463-0508 if we can ever be of assistance, and remember that our door is always open.

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