Weekly Session Update 12 — Fighting for Rural Texas & Gun Rights
April 23, 2013

With a little over a month left of Session, bills are moving in and out of committees rapidly and coming to the floor for a vote.

Last week, I presented a number of my bills before committees that would reduce unfunded mandates on rural Texas, help our local volunteer fire departments and erode restrictions that have been placed on the Second Amendment.

A bill I am especially proud of is HB 3218, which would essentially allow concealed handgun license holders to carry anywhere. The hearing on this bill went very well, with several individuals from around the state testifying in favor, as well as representatives from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA). After the hearing I joined Robert Pratt on the radio to discuss the bill, you can listen to that here.

On Friday, I passed an amendment on the House Floor that will make it easier for rural counties to conduct primary elections across the State of Texas. The amendment allows for a county chair in counties of under 5,000 to fill a vacancy in a neighboring county of under 5,000 by allowing their county chair to act as a county chair of both counties. The idea was brought to my attention by the Republican Party of Texas, but will help both parties equally provide primary elections in our smaller counties.

I was honored to get an opportunity to talk with Carol Everett & Ann Hettinger with Concerned Women for America on the Pro-Life Movement. Both women have been absolutely crucial in the advances we have made in recent years in protecting human life. If you have not heard Carol Everett’s story, I encourage you to take a moment and read it here.

Today I will present HB 3222 before the House Committee on Environmental Regulations. This bill is crucial for returning common sense to the way the TCEQ handles violations in Texas. Currently, the TCEQ does not take into account the population of a city or a county when it assesses a penalty, meaning big cities such as Dallas and Houston can be assessed the same fine as smaller towns like Floydada and Saint Jo.

Because the population is so much greater in these larger cities, on a per person basis the fines end up much smaller for them than than they would be for a smaller municipality. My bill would fix this inequality by requiring that the TCEQ take into account the population of an area before assessing a penalty.

The tragedy in West last week just highlights how important family and community are to the State of Texas. People across the state have come together in support of this community and have donated blood, food and supplies to those in need. On Friday, on my way back to the district from Austin, I stopped off in West to offer my assistance and let them know that the people of District 68 were there to help them in any way we could.

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