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Many Questions Need to be Answered 
Before We Raise the City's Property Taxes

​By Bill King


Harvey was an extraordinary event and calls for an extraordinary response.  That response may include raising more revenue for flood projects in our region.  But the proposal by Sylvester Turner for City Council to immediately raise the City's property taxes by $113 million raises a number of troubling questions.
  
First, let's not kid ourselves that his money is going to be used to stem flooding.  Since 2012, the City has collected about $800 million in "drainage fees."  A tiny fraction of that money has actually been spent on flood control projects.  Trust me, none of this $113 million will be.
  
Under the property tax cap charter amendment, City Council can raise additional property tax revenue over the cap by an amount "necessitated by city expenditures related to the inclusion of the city in any declaration of an emergency or disaster."
Therefore, the threshold question must be:  How is the $113 million going to be spent?  The only explanations we have gotten so far is that the City will have to pony up about $20 million for it share of debris removal expenses, needs to replace about 300 flooded vehicles and repair some unspecified damages to some of the City's facilities.  But we have a $20 million "rainy day fund" (recently renamed the Budget Stabilization Fund) for exactly this purpose.  And it should not cost more than about $15 million to replace 300 vehicles.  So where is the rest of the money going?
  
And were any of those losses covered by insurance?  I found a note in the 2016 Annual Report that appears to suggest that the City is covered for any flood losses over $10 million.  I do not know if that is actually the case or not.  But if we do not have any coverage, why not?  (And for that matter, why were over 300+ vehicles left where they would be flooded in the first place?)  
  
How much of these expenses will be covered by donations?  Are there alternatives to raising taxes?  Can some of the TIRZ money be tapped?  City reports show there is about a $50 million fund balance in the "dedicated" drainage fund.  Can that be used?
  
City Council has an obligation under the charter to demand an accounting of what expenses are necessitated by the disaster before voting to suspend the cap.  To do otherwise raises the question of whether this whole exercise is just a pretext to accomplish what the advocates of repealing the property tax cap knew they could not do at the ballot box.
  
There are two things that make me suspicious this is just such a pretext.   First, the increase is exactly (to the one-hundredth percent) the amount the tax rate has been decreased because of the property tax cap.  Are we to believe that the city expenditures necessitated by the storm just happen to come out to that exact number?
  
Second, Turner's main surrogate for the repeal of the property tax cap, Council Member Dwight Boykins, made a telling statement.  He told the Houston Chronicle, "Anything to bust that damn rev cap, I'm in."
I think Boykins statement reflects the true opinion of many at City Hall.  They resent that Houston taxpayers have limited the amount that they can increase the property tax and will use any device or excuse to get rid of the cap, including exploiting a natural disaster.
  
I think it is also noteworthy that no other taxing jurisdiction in our area has proposed increasing taxes in response to Harvey.  The County and HISD both had more severe damages to their facilities, as did several of our sister cities on a relative basis.  Why is the City of Houston the only jurisdiction that needs to immediately raise its taxes?
  
There could also be an unintended consequence from a tax increase.  It could spark a taxpayer backlash that will show up at the polls in the November for the City's bond election.  My guess is that the improvement bonds are already in trouble since they have no money for streets or drainage.  But this could also imperil the passage of the pension bonds, which have, at least to now, enjoyed a comfortable margin of support.  The additional revenue from this tax increase will pale in comparison to the costs if the City is forced to go back to the drawing board on pensions.
  
Many in this City are hurting right now.  True, the proposed tax increase will not make a significant difference to most.  But the optics of the City piling on to their misfortune are ugly and will do much to unravel the unity we have found through this ordeal. 
  
And it is $113 million that the City Council will decide how to spend instead of taxpayers.  That is $113 million less for Houstonians to repair damaged homes, replace flooded items and give to charities.
  
Every tax dollar is a precious trust and especially so under these circumstances.  There may be a case for the City increasing taxes.  But that case has yet to be made.

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Legislative Update from Senator Brandon Creighton

Dear Texan,

Governor Greg Abbott called the Legislature to a 30-day special session to tackle 20 items including property tax reform, education items and annexation. While we had many great accomplishments of pro-life and education legislation, unfortunately meaningful property tax reform was not passed. That's why I've asked Governor Abbott to call a second special to address this critical issue.

God Bless Texas, 



State Senator, District 4

Special Legislative Session:

Here's a quick snapshot of what the Legislature passed during the 30-day special session. 
 

 SENATE HOUSE TO GOV SIGNED

Sunset bill Passed Passed  SB 20, SB 60 Yes

Teacher pay raise Passed   

School finance commission Passed Passed HB 21Pending 

Special ed 'school choice'Passed   

Local gov. permits Passed   

Property tax rollbackPassed Passed  

State spending cap Passed   

Tree regulation Passed Passed HB 7 Pending

Local land use rules    

Local spending cap    

Annexation reform Passed Passed SB 6 Yes

Distracted driving Passed   

Union dues Passed   

Abortion provider funding Passed   

Abortion insurance Passed Passed HB 214 Yes

Abortion reporting Passed Passed HB 13, HB 215 Yes

Do-not-resuscitate Passed Passed SB 11 Pending 

Mail-in voter fraud Passed Passed SB 5 Yes

Maternal mortalityPassed Passed SB 17 Pending 

TRS-Care funding Passed Passed HB 21 Pending 

Property Tax Reform - Senate Bill 1 

In May, Senator Creighton was the first legislator to ask the Governor to call a special session on property tax reform. Meaningful property tax reform and relief did not pass during the regular session. 

Senator Creighton co-authored the Property Tax Reform & Relief Act during the first called special legislative session. Each chamber passed a different version of the bill so the two chambers needed a conference committee to resolve the differences. Senator Creighton was appointed to serve on the committee. Unfortunately, the House Leadership failed to appoint conferees and then adjourned Sine Die which killed the bill and resulted in zero relief from the outrageous property tax system in Texas.

"The disagreement between the chambers centered on how much the rollback rate should change," said Senator Creighton. "I am disappointed in the House leadership for leaving the job early and failing to work with the Senate on this critical issue. Senate District 4 and all Texans deserve true relief which is why I'm asking Governor Abbott for a second special session to bring meaningful property tax reform into law."
 

Pro-Life Insurance Reform - Senate Bill 8

The House version of Senate Bill 8 (House Bill 214) sponsored by Senator Creighton was signed into law by Governor Abbott. The new law follows 25 other states which require elective abortion coverage to be purchased through separate, supplemental coverage. 

"The Legislature has affirmed the preference of promoting pro-life values in the state," said Senator Creighton. "Both chambers have spoken and I was proud to work with Representative John Smithee on this important legislation."

School Finance & Retired Teacher Relief - House Bill 21

Senator Creighton voted in favor of House Bill 21 which provides $563 million additional dollars toward school finance and retired teachers as well as creates a commission to study school finance before the 2019 regular legislative session. These are real, state dollars that will have an immediate impact before we have the results on how to improve the system from the newly created Texas Commission on Public School Finance.

"I'm encouraged the Commission will be comprised of public school educators with the expertise we need to bring true reform," said Senator Creighton.

The bill allocates $351 million into the public education system to begin immediately:

$150 million for hardship grants for school districts that may lose state funding in September (ASATR)

$120 million for construction costs for charter schools and traditional public schools 

$41 million for small school district adjustments 

$40 million for public school districts that provide programs for students with dyslexia and autism

The legislation also appropriates $212 million to TRS-Care which will cut premiums in half.  The money also helps reduce costs to participants for items such as deductibles, prescription drugs and to assist with premiums and out-of-pocket costs for disabled adult dependents of retired teachers. 

"With no comprehensive healthcare at the federal level, the costs are rising for everyone," said Senator Creighton. "I recognize the importance our teachers play in the future of our State and I recognize the importance of keeping our promise to support them after their great service. With many educators in my family, I understand the importance of legislative oversight over public education and am pleased to deliver relief to TRS-Care."

The millions of dollars mentioned above is in addition to the $40 billion dollars the state has dedicated to public education in the approved budget.

Visit Your Senate Offices!

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May KARW Legislative Update

KARW’S mission is to uphold the ideals of the Republican Party and support incumbent officials, as well Republican women and men seeking political offices.

85th Legislative Session:  Legislative Alerts:

Prepared by SREC Legislative Committee

HB 300         King, Phil | Zerwas | Kacal | Cook | Burns

Relating to the removal of a fee for the issuance of an original, duplicate, modified, or renewed license to carry a handgun.

Placed on House General State Calendar for 5/2

SB 139        Taylor, Van  

Relating to the applicability of adverse licensing, listing, or registration decisions by certain health and human services agencies.

Scheduled for a public hearing in the House Public Health Committee on 5/2 at 8am in E2.012

HB 1113    Smithee

Relating to health plan and health benefit plan coverage for abortions.

Scheduled for a public hearing in the State Affairs Committee on 5/3 at 10:30 am or upon final adjourn./recess in JHR 140

SB21        Birdwell | Bettencourt | Campbell | Creighton | Hancock | Huffines | Perry | Seliger | Taylor, Larry

Relating to the qualifications, duties, and limitations of Texas delegates to a convention called under Article V of the United States Constitution.

Placed on House Emergency Calendar for 5/3

SJR 38        Estes

Rescinding certain applications made by the Texas Legislature to the United States Congress to call a national convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for proposing any amendment to that Constitution.

Placed on House Constitutional Amendments Calendar for 5/3

HB 1485    Swanson

Relating to academic freedom for public school teachers providing science instruction.

Scheduled for public hearing in the Public Education Committee on 5/2 at 8am in E2.036

HB 1813    Flynn | Keough

Relating to issuing a marriage license and conducting a marriage ceremony.

Schedule for a public hearing in the State Affairs Committee on 5/3 at 10:30am or upon final adjourn./recess in JHR 140

HB 3534    Lambert

Relating to rates charged by certain transmission and distribution utilities to certain places of worship.

Schedule for a public hearing in the State Affairs Committee on 5/3 at 10:30am or upon final adjourn./recess in JHR 140

HB 3555    Swanson

Relating to an innovation grant program for community faith-based programs that collaborate with the Department of Family and Protective Services to improve foster care.

Scheduled for public hearing in the Human Services Committee on 5/1 at 8am in E2.030

Legislative Week in Review:

Reporting on the progress of RPT’s 8 legislative priorities, as put forth by the delegates of the 2016 Republican Party of Texas State Convention and the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC).  Below is a listing of bills that relate to each of the priorities.

Priority: Pass constitutional carry while maintaining licensing as optional for reciprocity purposes. 

Bills enacting priority in its entirety:

HB 375        Stickland/Schafer

Relating to providing for the carrying of handguns without a license and to related offenses and penalties.

Left pending in Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee, 3/28

HB 1911    White

Relating to granting authority to carry a firearm to an unlicensed person who otherwise meets certain requirements for a handgun license and to related criminal offenses; creating a criminal offense.

House Committee report sent to Calendars, 4/26

Bills also relating to priority:

SB 16         Nichols/Huffman

Relating to the removal of a fee for the issuance of an original, duplicate, modified, or renewed license to carry a handgun.

House Committee report send to Calendars, 4/24

HB 300         King, Phil | Zerwas | Kacal | Cook | Burns

Relating to the removal of a fee for the issuance of an original, duplicate, modified, or renewed license to carry a handgun.

Placed on House General State Calendar for 5/2

HB 339         Burrows | Landgraf | Springer | Kacal | Murr

Relating to the removal of a fee for the issuance of an original, duplicate, modified, or renewed license to carry a handgun.

Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee, 2/16

HB 1024     Kacal

Relating to the removal of a fee for the issuance of an original, duplicate, modified, or renewed license to carry a handgun.

Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee, 3/6

Priority: Abolish abortion by enacting legislation to stop the murder of unborn children; and to ignore and refuse to enforce any and all federal statutes, regulations, executive orders, and court rulings which would deprive an unborn child of the right to life. 

Bills enacting priority in its entirety:

HB 948        Tinderholt

Relating to prohibiting abortion and recognizing the rights, powers, and privileges of all unborn children at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth; affecting criminal offenses and penalties.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/21

Bills also relating to priority:

SB 8        Schwertner | Campbell | Kolkhorst | Nelson | Perry  

Relating to certain prohibited abortions and the treatment and disposition of a human fetus, human fetal tissue, and other tissue resulting from pregnancy; creating a civil cause of action; creating offenses.

Passed the Senate, Reported engrossed, Received in the House from the Senate, 3/16

SB 20        Taylor, Larry   

Relating to health plan and health benefit plan coverage for abortions.

Passed the Senate, Reported engrossed, Received in the House from the Senate, 3/28

SB 25        Creighton | Bettencourt | Birdwell | Burton | Campbell | Estes | Hall | Hancock | Huffines | Huffman | Kolkhorst | Nelson | Nichols | Perry | Schwertner | Seliger | Taylor, Larry | Taylor, Van

Relating to eliminating the wrongful birth cause of action.

Passed the Senate, Reported engrossed, Received in the House from the Senate, 3/22

SB 139        Taylor, Van  

Relating to the applicability of adverse licensing, listing, or registration decisions by certain health and human services agencies.

Scheduled for a public hearing in the House Public Health Committee on 5/2 at 8am in E2.012

SB 258        Huffines  

Relating to the disposition of an unborn child's remains after an abortion.

Passed Senate, Reported engrossed, Received in the House from the Senate (4/3)

SB 406        Hall  

Relating to certificates of birth resulting in stillbirth, fetal death certificates, and the disposition of fetal remains; imposing administrative penalties.

Referred to Health & Human Services Committee, 2/1

SB 415        Perry  

Relating to a prohibition on the performance of dismemberment abortions; providing penalties; creating a criminal offense.

Passed the Senate, Reported engrossed, Received in the House from the Senate, 3/21

SB 855        Campbell

Relating to prohibiting certain transactions between a governmental entity and an abortion facility or affiliate of the facility.

Referred to Health & Human Services Committee, 2/27

SB 872        Perry

Relating to reporting requirements by physicians and certain health care facilities regarding complications resulting from an abortion.

Referred to Health & Human Services Committee, 2/27

SB 1377        Buckingham

Relating to human trafficking signs at abortion facilities and offenses associated with human rafficking and coerced abortion; increasing criminal penalties.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/16

SB 1427        Hancock | Campbell

Relating to providing information regarding perinatal hospice care and prohibiting discriminatory abortions; creating an administrative penalty, a civil remedy, and criminal offenses.

Referred to Health & Human Services Committee, 3/20

SB 1602        Campbell | Perry

Relating to reporting requirements by healthcare practitioners and certain health care facilities for abortion complications and to an annual report by the Department of State Health Services; providing a civil penalty.

Placed on Senate Intent Calendar for 4/26

SB 1948        Hughes

Relating to electronic reporting requirements for an abortion facility.

Referred to Health & Human Services Committee, 3/27

SJR 9        Hall  

Proposing a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to life of unborn children and prohibiting abortion to the extent authorized under federal constitutional law.

Referred to Health & Human Services Committee, 1/25

HB 35        Cook

Relating to the disposition of embryonic and fetal tissue remains; imposing a civil penalty.

Reported favorably as substituted out of State Affairs Committee, 4/17

HB 87        Schaefer

Relating to the regulation of abortion procedures.

Referred to State Affairs, 2/13

HB 144        Schaefer

Relating to electronic reporting requirements for an abortion facility.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/13

HB 200        Burkett

Relating to certain prohibited abortions and the treatment and disposition of a human fetus, human fetal tissue, and other tissue resulting from pregnancy; creating a civil cause of action; creating offenses.

Reported favorably as substituted out of State Affairs Committee, 4/17

HB 201        Cook      

Relating to disposition of fetal remains by a healthcare facility; imposing penalties.

No action taken in State Affairs Committee, 3/8

HB 434        Simmons

Relating to eliminating the wrongful birth cause of action.

Committee Report sent to Calendars, 4/24

HB 612        Leach      

Relating to voluntary and informed consent to an abortion and prevention of coerced abortions; providing penalties; creating an offense.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/22

HB 844        Klick

Relating to a prohibition on the performance of dismemberment abortions; providing penalties; creating a criminal offense.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/21

HB 872        Roberts

Relating to the applicability of certain laws to an agreement authorizing certain persons to make decisions regarding a child.

Referred to Human Services Committee, 2/23

HB 1049    Swanson

Relating to prohibited acts regarding abortion for a physician or applicant for a medical license.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/6

HB 1113    Smithee

Relating to health plan and health benefit plan coverage for abortions.

Scheduled for a public hearing in the State Affairs Committee on 5/3 at 10:30 am or upon final adjourn./recess in JHR 140

HB 1936    Springer  

Relating to prohibiting certain transactions between a governmental entity and an abortion facility or affiliate of the facility.

Reported favorably as substituted out of State Affairs Committee, 4/27

HB 1960    Laubenberg

Relating to the applicability of adverse licensing, listing, or registration decisions by cer tain health and human services agencies.

Referred to Public Health Committee, 3/20

HB 1971    Schaefer

Relating to providing information regarding perinatal hospice care and prohibiting discriminatory abortions; creating an administrative penalty, a civil remedy, and criminal offenses.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/15

HB 2348    Swanson

Relating to certificates of birth resulting in stillbirth, fetal death certificates, and the disposition of fetal remains; imposing administrative penalties.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/20

HB 2349    Swanson

Relating to the filing of a fetal death certificate after an abortion.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/30

HB 2858    Burns | Shine | Paul

Relating to human trafficking signs at abortion facilities and offenses associated with human trafficking and coerced abortion; increasing criminal penalties.

Left pending in State Affairs Committee on 4/12

HB 2962    Capriglione

Relating to reporting requirements by health care practitioners and certain health care facilities for abortion complications; creating a criminal offense.

Reported favorably as substituted out of State Affairs Committee, 4/17

HB 3246    Leach

Relating to voluntary and informed consent to an abortion and actions to be taken by an abortion provider to prevent coerced abortions and human trafficking.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/30

HB 3248    Leach

Relating to prevention of coerced abortions and human trafficking; creating an offense.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/30

HB 3544    Cain

Relating to prohibited state contracts with vendors that perform elective abortions, destructive embryonic stem cell research, or human cloning or that conduct research on human fetal tissue.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/31

HB 3771    Cook

Relating to the definition of abortion for the purpose of the regulation of abortion facilities.

Reported favorably as substituted out of State Affairs Committee, 4/19

HJR 104        Shaheen

Urging the Congress of the United States to propose for ratification an amendment to the United States Constitution which would prohibit, with one exception, the practice of abortion within the United States or in any place subject to their jurisdiction or, in the alternative, applying to Congress to call a convention, pursuant to Article V of that Constitution, for the specific and limited purpose of proposing such an amendment to that Constitution for ratification.

Referred to State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Select, 3/20

HJR 121        Fallon

Proposing a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to life of unborn children and prohibiting abortion to the fullest extent possible and to be known as the "Life at Conception provision of the Texas Constitution's Bill of Rights".

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/31

HJR 122        Swanson

Proposing a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to life of unborn children and prohibiting abortion to the extent authorized under federal constitutional law.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/31

HJR 123        Krause | Burrows | Schaefer

Proposing a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to life of unborn children and prohibiting abortion to the fullest extent possible.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/31

Priority: Prioritize the allocation of funds to effectively secure the border through whatever means necessary, including but not limited to barriers, personnel, and technology over land, sea, and air, because the federal government refuses to secure the southern border of Texas.    

 

Bills enacting priority in its entirety:

*HB1 & SB1 (the budget bills) are the only ones filed that can ultimately implement this priority.  Both are being tracked by the legislative committee for their inclusion of border security funding.

SB 1        Nelson

General Appropriations Bill

House & Senate have appointed conferees, 4/20

HB 1        Zerwas

General Appropriations Bill

Appropriations Committee meeting cancelled,3/30

Bills also relating to the priority:

SB 280        Huffines

Relating to the prosecution of the offense of criminal trespass

Referred to Criminal Justice Committee, 1/30

SB 514        Hall

Relating to an interstate compact on border security and refugee resettlement; authorizing fines and fees.

Referred to Vet Affairs & Border Security Committee, 2/6

SB 619        Estes

Relating to county and municipal cooperation with state and federal immigration law enforcement and efforts to enhance international border security.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/13

HB 2042        Schaefer

Relating to an interstate compact on border security and immigration enforcement.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/13

HB 2137    Biedermann

Relating to an interstate compact on border security, immigration enforcement, and refugee resettlement.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/15

Priority: Call for a limited Article V convention of states for the specific purpose of restricting the power of the federal government, including the implementation of term limits, and balanced budget amendment. Any proposed amendments must be ratified by ľ of the states. 

Bills enacting priority in its entirety:

SJR 2        Birdwell | Bettencourt | Campbell | Creighton | Hancock | Huffines | Perry | Seliger | Taylor, Larry

Applying to the Congress of the United States to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the limited purpose of proposing one or more amendments to the constitution to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and to limit the terms of office of federal officials and members of Congress.

Recommitted to State & Federal Power & Responsibility Select Committee, 4/28

HJR 39        Miller, Rick | Zerwas | Burns | Larson | Price

Applying to the Congress of the United States to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the limited purpose of proposing one or more amendments to the constitution to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and to limit the terms of office of federal officials and members of Congress.

Left pending in State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Select Committee, 4/13

Bills also related to the priority:

SB21        Birdwell | Bettencourt | Campbell | Creighton | Hancock | Huffines | Perry | Seliger | Taylor, Larry

Relating to the qualifications, duties, and limitations of Texas delegates to a convention called under Article V of the United States Constitution.

Placed on House Emergency Calendar for 5/3

SB 959        Hughes

Relating to the adoption of the Compact for a Balanced Budget.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/1

SJR 37        Nichols

Applying to the Congress of the United States to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the limited purpose of proposing an amendment to the constitution to impose term limits for justices of the United States Supreme Court and to allow the states to overturn a decision of the United States Supreme Court.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/21

SJR 38        Estes

Rescinding certain applications made by the Texas Legislature to the United States Congress to call a national convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for proposing any amendment to that Constitution.

Placed on House Constitutional Amendments Calendar for 5/3

SJR 40        Huffines

Applying to the Congress of the United States to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the limited purpose of proposing an amendment to the constitution to limit the terms of office of members of Congress.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/7

HB 506        King

Relating to the qualifications, duties, and limitations of Texas delegates to a convention called under Article V of the United States Constitution.

Left pending in State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Select Committee, 4/13

HJR 44        Workman

Applying to the Congress of the United States to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the limited purpose of proposing an amendment to the constitution to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government.

Left pending in State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Select Committee , 4/13

HJR 77        Klick

Rescinding the 1899 application of the 26th Texas Legislature to the United States Congress to call an unrestricted national convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for proposing undisclosed amendments to that Constitution.

Referred to State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Select Committee, 3/20

HJR 78        Klick

Rescinding the 1901 and 1911 applications to the United States Congress to call a national convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the direct election of U.S. Senators.

Referred to State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Select Committee, 3/20

HJR 80        Cain | Biedermann

Applying to the Congress of the United States to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the limited purpose of proposing an amendment to the constitution to limit the terms of office of members of Congress.

Referred to State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Select Committee, 3/20

HJR 104        Shaheen

Urging the Congress of the United States to propose for ratification an amendment to the United States Constitution which would prohibit, with one exception, the practice of abortion within the United States or in any place subject to their jurisdiction or, in the alternative, applying to Congress to call a convention, pursuant to Article V of that Constitution, for the specific and limited purpose of proposing such an amendment to that Constitution for ratification.

Referred to State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Select Committee, 3/20

Priority: Replace the property tax system with an alternative other than the income tax and require voter approval to increase the overall tax burden. 

Bills related to the priority:

SB 2        Bettencourt | Creighton | Hancock | Taylor, Van

Relating to ad valorem taxation.

Passed in the Senate, Referred to House Ways & Means Committee, 4/19

SB 669              Nelson

Relating to the system for protesting or appealing certain ad valorem tax determinations; authorizing a fee.

Passed the Senate, Referred to House Ways & Means Committee, 4/18

HB 888              Raymond | Cain

Relating to honesty in state taxation.

Referred to Ways & Means Committee, 2/23

HB 1050     Swanson

Relating to the abolition of ad valorem taxes.

Referred to Ways & Means Committee, 3/6

Additionally, there are a large number of bills that have been filed that relate in some way to the property tax system.  Use TLO keyword “property tax” or “ad valorem” to search on this subject.

Priority:  Working to advocate for comprehensive school choice in a manner consistent with the RPT Platform.

Bills related to the priority:

SB 3        Taylor

Relating to the establishment of an education savings account program and a tax credit scholarship and educational expense assistance program.

Passed the Senate; Reported engrossed; Received in the House from the Senate, 4/3

SB 457        Campbell

Relating to funding for an open-enrollment charter school based on the guaranteed level of state and local funds provided to school districts through the existing debt allotment.

Passed the Senate, Reported engrossed, Received in the House from the Senate, 4/28

SB 542        Bettencourt

Relating to an insurance premium tax credit for contributions made to certain educational assistance organizations.

Referred to Education Committee, 2/8

SJR 33        Huffines

Proposing a constitutional amendment protecting private schools and home schools from state and local regulation.

Referred to Education Committee, 2/13

HB 1184        Bohac/Workman/Villalba/Zerwas

Relating to an insurance premium tax credit for contributions made to certain educational assistance organizations.

Referred to Public Education Committee, 3/7

HB 1269        Villalba

Relating to open-enrollment charter schools.

Left pending in the Public Education Committee, 3/28

HB 1335        Simmons

Relating to the establishment of an education savings account program for certain children with special needs and other educational disadvantages.

Left pending in Public Education Committee, 4/27

Priority:  We support denial and/or withdrawal of public funds for entities, public and/or private, not in compliance with immigration laws, including sanctuary cities or campuses.

Bills enacting priority in its entirety:

SB 4        Perry

Relating to the enforcement by certain governmental entities of state and federal laws governing immigration and to the duties of law enforcement agencies concerning certain arrested persons.

Passed the House, 4/27

SB 619        Estes

Relating to county and municipal cooperation with state and federal immigration law enforcement and efforts to enhance international border security.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/13

HB 889        Geren | Workman | Kuempel | Bonnen, Dennis

Relating to the enforcement by certain governmental entities of state and federal laws governing immigration and to the duties of law enforcement agencies concerning certain arrested persons.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/22

HB 611        Leach

Relating to the enforcement by certain governmental entities of state and federal laws governing immigration and to the duties of law enforcement agencies concerning certain arrested persons.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/22

HB 754        Fallon

Relating to the enforcement by certain governmental entities of state and federal laws governing immigration and to the duties of law enforcement agencies concerning certain arrested persons.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/1

HB 1308    Holland

Relating to the enforcement by certain governmental entities of state and federal laws governing immigration and to the duties of law enforcement agencies concerning certain arrested persons.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/27

Bills also related to the priority:

SB 23        Schwertner | Bettencourt | Birdwell | Burton | Campbell | Creighton | Hancock | Huffines | Huffman | Hughes | Kolkhorst | Nelson | Perry | Seliger | Taylor, Van

Relating to requiring state contractors to participate in the federal electronic verification of employment authorization program, or E-verify.

Passed Senate; Reported engrossed; Received in the House from the Senate, 3/29

SB 85        Hall

Relating to the verification of employment authorization by state contractors and state grant recipients, including the use of the federal E-verify program, and to authorization for the suspension of certain licenses held by private employers for the knowing employment of persons not lawfully present in this state; authorizing a fee.

Referred to Business & Commerce Committee, 1/24

SB 108        Hall

Relating to increasing the punishment for certain felony offenses committed by a person who is unlawfully present in the United States

May 2017 KARW Legislative Update

KARW’S mission is to uphold the ideals of the Republican Party and support incumbent officials, as well Republican women and men seeking political offices.

85th Legislative Session:  Legislative Alerts:

Prepared by SREC Legislative Committee

HB 300         King, Phil | Zerwas | Kacal | Cook | Burns

Relating to the removal of a fee for the issuance of an original, duplicate, modified, or renewed license to carry a handgun.

Placed on House General State Calendar for 5/2

SB 139        Taylor, Van  

Relating to the applicability of adverse licensing, listing, or registration decisions by certain health and human services agencies.

Scheduled for a public hearing in the House Public Health Committee on 5/2 at 8am in E2.012

HB 1113    Smithee

Relating to health plan and health benefit plan coverage for abortions.

Scheduled for a public hearing in the State Affairs Committee on 5/3 at 10:30 am or upon final adjourn./recess in JHR 140

SB21        Birdwell | Bettencourt | Campbell | Creighton | Hancock | Huffines | Perry | Seliger | Taylor, Larry

Relating to the qualifications, duties, and limitations of Texas delegates to a convention called under Article V of the United States Constitution.

Placed on House Emergency Calendar for 5/3

SJR 38        Estes

Rescinding certain applications made by the Texas Legislature to the United States Congress to call a national convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for proposing any amendment to that Constitution.

Placed on House Constitutional Amendments Calendar for 5/3

HB 1485    Swanson

Relating to academic freedom for public school teachers providing science instruction.

Scheduled for public hearing in the Public Education Committee on 5/2 at 8am in E2.036

HB 1813    Flynn | Keough

Relating to issuing a marriage license and conducting a marriage ceremony.

Schedule for a public hearing in the State Affairs Committee on 5/3 at 10:30am or upon final adjourn./recess in JHR 140

HB 3534    Lambert

Relating to rates charged by certain transmission and distribution utilities to certain places of worship.

Schedule for a public hearing in the State Affairs Committee on 5/3 at 10:30am or upon final adjourn./recess in JHR 140

HB 3555    Swanson

Relating to an innovation grant program for community faith-based programs that collaborate with the Department of Family and Protective Services to improve foster care.

Scheduled for public hearing in the Human Services Committee on 5/1 at 8am in E2.030

Legislative Week in Review:

Reporting on the progress of RPT’s 8 legislative priorities, as put forth by the delegates of the 2016 Republican Party of Texas State Convention and the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC).  Below is a listing of bills that relate to each of the priorities.

Priority: Pass constitutional carry while maintaining licensing as optional for reciprocity purposes. 

Bills enacting priority in its entirety:

HB 375        Stickland/Schafer

Relating to providing for the carrying of handguns without a license and to related offenses and penalties.

Left pending in Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee, 3/28

HB 1911    White

Relating to granting authority to carry a firearm to an unlicensed person who otherwise meets certain requirements for a handgun license and to related criminal offenses; creating a criminal offense.

House Committee report sent to Calendars, 4/26

Bills also relating to priority:

SB 16         Nichols/Huffman

Relating to the removal of a fee for the issuance of an original, duplicate, modified, or renewed license to carry a handgun.

House Committee report send to Calendars, 4/24

HB 300         King, Phil | Zerwas | Kacal | Cook | Burns

Relating to the removal of a fee for the issuance of an original, duplicate, modified, or renewed license to carry a handgun.

Placed on House General State Calendar for 5/2

HB 339         Burrows | Landgraf | Springer | Kacal | Murr

Relating to the removal of a fee for the issuance of an original, duplicate, modified, or renewed license to carry a handgun.

Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee, 2/16

HB 1024     Kacal

Relating to the removal of a fee for the issuance of an original, duplicate, modified, or renewed license to carry a handgun.

Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee, 3/6

Priority: Abolish abortion by enacting legislation to stop the murder of unborn children; and to ignore and refuse to enforce any and all federal statutes, regulations, executive orders, and court rulings which would deprive an unborn child of the right to life. 

Bills enacting priority in its entirety:

HB 948        Tinderholt

Relating to prohibiting abortion and recognizing the rights, powers, and privileges of all unborn children at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth; affecting criminal offenses and penalties.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/21

Bills also relating to priority:

SB 8        Schwertner | Campbell | Kolkhorst | Nelson | Perry  

Relating to certain prohibited abortions and the treatment and disposition of a human fetus, human fetal tissue, and other tissue resulting from pregnancy; creating a civil cause of action; creating offenses.

Passed the Senate, Reported engrossed, Received in the House from the Senate, 3/16

SB 20        Taylor, Larry   

Relating to health plan and health benefit plan coverage for abortions.

Passed the Senate, Reported engrossed, Received in the House from the Senate, 3/28

SB 25        Creighton | Bettencourt | Birdwell | Burton | Campbell | Estes | Hall | Hancock | Huffines | Huffman | Kolkhorst | Nelson | Nichols | Perry | Schwertner | Seliger | Taylor, Larry | Taylor, Van

Relating to eliminating the wrongful birth cause of action.

Passed the Senate, Reported engrossed, Received in the House from the Senate, 3/22

SB 139        Taylor, Van  

Relating to the applicability of adverse licensing, listing, or registration decisions by certain health and human services agencies.

Scheduled for a public hearing in the House Public Health Committee on 5/2 at 8am in E2.012

SB 258        Huffines  

Relating to the disposition of an unborn child's remains after an abortion.

Passed Senate, Reported engrossed, Received in the House from the Senate (4/3)

SB 406        Hall  

Relating to certificates of birth resulting in stillbirth, fetal death certificates, and the disposition of fetal remains; imposing administrative penalties.

Referred to Health & Human Services Committee, 2/1

SB 415        Perry  

Relating to a prohibition on the performance of dismemberment abortions; providing penalties; creating a criminal offense.

Passed the Senate, Reported engrossed, Received in the House from the Senate, 3/21

SB 855        Campbell

Relating to prohibiting certain transactions between a governmental entity and an abortion facility or affiliate of the facility.

Referred to Health & Human Services Committee, 2/27

SB 872        Perry

Relating to reporting requirements by physicians and certain health care facilities regarding complications resulting from an abortion.

Referred to Health & Human Services Committee, 2/27

SB 1377        Buckingham

Relating to human trafficking signs at abortion facilities and offenses associated with human trafficking and coerced abortion; increasing criminal penalties.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/16

SB 1427        Hancock | Campbell

Relating to providing information regarding perinatal hospice care and prohibiting discriminatory abortions; creating an administrative penalty, a civil remedy, and criminal offenses.

Referred to Health & Human Services Committee, 3/20

SB 1602        Campbell | Perry

Relating to reporting requirements by healthcare practitioners and certain health care facilities for abortion complications and to an annual report by the Department of State Health Services; providing a civil penalty.

Placed on Senate Intent Calendar for 4/26

SB 1948        Hughes

Relating to electronic reporting requirements for an abortion facility.

Referred to Health & Human Services Committee, 3/27

SJR 9        Hall  

Proposing a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to life of unborn children and prohibiting abortion to the extent authorized under federal constitutional law.

Referred to Health & Human Services Committee, 1/25

HB 35        Cook

Relating to the disposition of embryonic and fetal tissue remains; imposing a civil penalty.

Reported favorably as substituted out of State Affairs Committee, 4/17

HB 87        Schaefer

Relating to the regulation of abortion procedures.

Referred to State Affairs, 2/13

HB 144        Schaefer

Relating to electronic reporting requirements for an abortion facility.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/13

HB 200        Burkett

Relating to certain prohibited abortions and the treatment and disposition of a human fetus, human fetal tissue, and other tissue resulting from pregnancy; creating a civil cause of action; creating offenses.

Reported favorably as substituted out of State Affairs Committee, 4/17

HB 201        Cook      

Relating to disposition of fetal remains by a healthcare facility; imposing penalties.

No action taken in State Affairs Committee, 3/8

HB 434        Simmons

Relating to eliminating the wrongful birth cause of action.

Committee Report sent to Calendars, 4/24

HB 612        Leach      

Relating to voluntary and informed consent to an abortion and prevention of coerced abortions; providing penalties; creating an offense.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/22

HB 844        Klick

Relating to a prohibition on the performance of dismemberment abortions; providing penalties; creating a criminal offense.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/21

HB 872        Roberts

Relating to the applicability of certain laws to an agreement authorizing certain persons to make decisions regarding a child.

Referred to Human Services Committee, 2/23

HB 1049    Swanson

Relating to prohibited acts regarding abortion for a physician or applicant for a medical license.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/6

HB 1113    Smithee

Relating to health plan and health benefit plan coverage for abortions.

Scheduled for a public hearing in the State Affairs Committee on 5/3 at 10:30 am or upon final adjourn./recess in JHR 140

HB 1936    Springer  

Relating to prohibiting certain transactions between a governmental entity and an abortion facility or affiliate of the facility.

Reported favorably as substituted out of State Affairs Committee, 4/27

HB 1960    Laubenberg

Relating to the applicability of adverse licensing, listing, or registration decisions by cer tain health and human services agencies.

Referred to Public Health Committee, 3/20

HB 1971    Schaefer

Relating to providing information regarding perinatal hospice care and prohibiting discriminatory abortions; creating an administrative penalty, a civil remedy, and criminal offenses.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/15

HB 2348    Swanson

Relating to certificates of birth resulting in stillbirth, fetal death certificates, and the disposition of fetal remains; imposing administrative penalties.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/20

HB 2349    Swanson

Relating to the filing of a fetal death certificate after an abortion.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/30

HB 2858    Burns | Shine | Paul

Relating to human trafficking signs at abortion facilities and offenses associated with human trafficking and coerced abortion; increasing criminal penalties.

Left pending in State Affairs Committee on 4/12

HB 2962    Capriglione

Relating to reporting requirements by health care practitioners and certain health care facilities for abortion complications; creating a criminal offense.

Reported favorably as substituted out of State Affairs Committee, 4/17

HB 3246    Leach

Relating to voluntary and informed consent to an abortion and actions to be taken by an abortion provider to prevent coerced abortions and human trafficking.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/30

HB 3248    Leach

Relating to prevention of coerced abortions and human trafficking; creating an offense.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/30

HB 3544    Cain

Relating to prohibited state contracts with vendors that perform elective abortions, destructive embryonic stem cell research, or human cloning or that conduct research on human fetal tissue.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/31

HB 3771    Cook

Relating to the definition of abortion for the purpose of the regulation of abortion facilities.

Reported favorably as substituted out of State Affairs Committee, 4/19

HJR 104        Shaheen

Urging the Congress of the United States to propose for ratification an amendment to the United States Constitution which would prohibit, with one exception, the practice of abortion within the United States or in any place subject to their jurisdiction or, in the alternative, applying to Congress to call a convention, pursuant to Article V of that Constitution, for the specific and limited purpose of proposing such an amendment to that Constitution for ratification.

Referred to State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Select, 3/20

HJR 121        Fallon

Proposing a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to life of unborn children and prohibiting abortion to the fullest extent possible and to be known as the "Life at Conception provision of the Texas Constitution's Bill of Rights".

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/31

HJR 122        Swanson

Proposing a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to life of unborn children and prohibiting abortion to the extent authorized under federal constitutional law.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/31

HJR 123        Krause | Burrows | Schaefer

Proposing a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to life of unborn children and prohibiting abortion to the fullest extent possible.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/31

Priority: Prioritize the allocation of funds to effectively secure the border through whatever means necessary, including but not limited to barriers, personnel, and technology over land, sea, and air, because the federal government refuses to secure the southern border of Texas.    

Bills enacting priority in its entirety:

*HB1 & SB1 (the budget bills) are the only ones filed that can ultimately implement this priority.  Both are being tracked by the legislative committee for their inclusion of border security funding.

SB 1        Nelson

General Appropriations Bill

House & Senate have appointed conferees, 4/20

HB 1        Zerwas

General Appropriations Bill

Appropriations Committee meeting cancelled,3/30

Bills also relating to the priority:

SB 280        Huffines

Relating to the prosecution of the offense of criminal trespass

Referred to Criminal Justice Committee, 1/30

SB 514        Hall

Relating to an interstate compact on border security and refugee resettlement; authorizing fines and fees.

Referred to Vet Affairs & Border Security Committee, 2/6

SB 619        Estes

Relating to county and municipal cooperation with state and federal immigration law enforcement and efforts to enhance international border security.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/13

HB 2042        Schaefer

Relating to an interstate compact on border security and immigration enforcement.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/13

HB 2137    Biedermann

Relating to an interstate compact on border security, immigration enforcement, and refugee resettlement.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/15

Priority: Call for a limited Article V convention of states for the specific purpose of restricting the power of the federal government, including the implementation of term limits, and balanced budget amendment. Any proposed amendments must be ratified by ľ of the states. 

Bills enacting priority in its entirety:

SJR 2        Birdwell | Bettencourt | Campbell | Creighton | Hancock | Huffines | Perry | Seliger | Taylor, Larry

Applying to the Congress of the United States to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the limited purpose of proposing one or more amendments to the constitution to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and to limit the terms of office of federal officials and members of Congress.Recommitted to State & Federal Power & Responsibility Select Committee, 4/28

HJR 39        Miller, Rick | Zerwas | Burns | Larson | Price

Applying to the Congress of the United States to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the limited purpose of proposing one or more amendments to the constitution to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and to limit the terms of office of federal officials and members of Congress.

Left pending in State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Select Committee, 4/13

Bills also related to the priority:

SB21        Birdwell | Bettencourt | Campbell | Creighton | Hancock | Huffines | Perry | Seliger | Taylor, Larry

Relating to the qualifications, duties, and limitations of Texas delegates to a convention called under Article V of the United States Constitution.

Placed on House Emergency Calendar for 5/3

SB 959        Hughes

Relating to the adoption of the Compact for a Balanced Budget.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/1

SJR 37        Nichols

Applying to the Congress of the United States to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the limited purpose of proposing an amendment to the constitution to impose term limits for justices of the United States Supreme Court and to allow the states to overturn a decision of the United States Supreme Court.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/21

SJR 38        Estes

Rescinding certain applications made by the Texas Legislature to the United States Congress to call a national convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for proposing any amendment to that Constitution.

Placed on House Constitutional Amendments Calendar for 5/3

SJR 40        Huffines

Applying to the Congress of the United States to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the limited purpose of proposing an amendment to the constitution to limit the terms of office of members of Congress.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/7

HB 506        King

Relating to the qualifications, duties, and limitations of Texas delegates to a convention called under Article V of the United States Constitution.

Left pending in State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Select Committee, 4/13

HJR 44        Workman

Applying to the Congress of the United States to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the limited purpose of proposing an amendment to the constitution to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government.

Left pending in State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Select Committee , 4/13

HJR 77        Klick

Rescinding the 1899 application of the 26th Texas Legislature to the United States Congress to call an unrestricted national convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for proposing undisclosed amendments to that Constitution.

Referred to State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Select Committee, 3/20

HJR 78        Klick

Rescinding the 1901 and 1911 applications to the United States Congress to call a national convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the direct election of U.S. Senators.

Referred to State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Select Committee, 3/20

HJR 80        Cain | Biedermann

Applying to the Congress of the United States to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the limited purpose of proposing an amendment to the constitution to limit the terms of office of members of Congress.

Referred to State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Select Committee, 3/20

HJR 104        Shaheen

Urging the Congress of the United States to propose for ratification an amendment to the United States Constitution which would prohibit, with one exception, the practice of abortion within the United States or in any place subject to their jurisdiction or, in the alternative, applying to Congress to call a convention, pursuant to Article V of that Constitution, for the specific and limited purpose of proposing such an amendment to that Constitution for ratification.

Referred to State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Select Committee, 3/20

Priority: Replace the property tax system with an alternative other than the income tax and require voter approval to increase the overall tax burden. 

Bills related to the priority:

SB 2        Bettencourt | Creighton | Hancock | Taylor, Van

Relating to ad valorem taxation.

Passed in the Senate, Referred to House Ways & Means Committee, 4/19

SB 669              Nelson

Relating to the system for protesting or appealing certain ad valorem tax determinations; authorizing a fee.

Passed the Senate, Referred to House Ways & Means Committee, 4/18

HB 888              Raymond | Cain

Relating to honesty in state taxation.

Referred to Ways & Means Committee, 2/23

HB 1050     Swanson

Relating to the abolition of ad valorem taxes.

Referred to Ways & Means Committee, 3/6

Additionally, there are a large number of bills that have been filed that relate in some way to the property tax system.  Use TLO keyword “property tax” or “ad valorem” to search on this subject.

Priority:  Working to advocate for comprehensive school choice in a manner consistent with the RPT Platform.

Bills related to the priority:

SB 3        Taylor

Relating to the establishment of an education savings account program and a tax credit scholarship and educational expense assistance program.

Passed the Senate; Reported engrossed; Received in the House from the Senate, 4/3

SB 457        Campbell

Relating to funding for an open-enrollment charter school based on the guaranteed level of state and local funds provided to school districts through the existing debt allotment.

Passed the Senate, Reported engrossed, Received in the House from the Senate, 4/28

SB 542        Bettencourt

Relating to an insurance premium tax credit for contributions made to certain educational assistance organizations.

Referred to Education Committee, 2/8

SJR 33        Huffines

Proposing a constitutional amendment protecting private schools and home schools from state and local regulation.

Referred to Education Committee, 2/13

HB 1184        Bohac/Workman/Villalba/Zerwas

Relating to an insurance premium tax credit for contributions made to certain educational assistance organizations.

Referred to Public Education Committee, 3/7

HB 1269        Villalba

Relating to open-enrollment charter schools.

Left pending in the Public Education Committee, 3/28

HB 1335        Simmons

Relating to the establishment of an education savings account program for certain children with special needs and other educational disadvantages.

Left pending in Public Education Committee, 4/27

Priority:  We support denial and/or withdrawal of public funds for entities, public and/or private, not in compliance with immigration laws, including sanctuary cities or campuses.

Bills enacting priority in its entirety:

SB 4        Perry

Relating to the enforcement by certain governmental entities of state and federal laws governing immigration and to the duties of law enforcement agencies concerning certain arrested persons.

Passed the House, 4/27

SB 619        Estes

Relating to county and municipal cooperation with state and federal immigration law enforcement and efforts to enhance international border security.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/13

HB 889        Geren | Workman | Kuempel | Bonnen, Dennis

Relating to the enforcement by certain governmental entities of state and federal laws governing immigration and to the duties of law enforcement agencies concerning certain arrested persons.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/23

HB 611        Leach

Relating to the enforcement by certain governmental entities of state and federal laws governing immigration and to the duties of law enforcement agencies concerning certain arrested persons.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/22

HB 754        Fallon

Relating to the enforcement by certain governmental entities of state and federal laws governing immigration and to the duties of law enforcement agencies concerning certain arrested persons.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 3/1

HB 1308    Holland

Relating to the enforcement by certain governmental entities of state and federal laws governing immigration and to the duties of law enforcement agencies concerning certain arrested persons.

Referred to State Affairs Committee, 2/27

Bills also related to the priority:

SB 23        Schwertner | Bettencourt | Birdwell | Burton | Campbell | Creighton | Hancock | Huffines | Huffman | Hughes | Kolkhorst | Nelson | Perry | Seliger | Taylor, Van

Relating to requiring state contractors to participate in the federal electronic verification of employment authorization program, or E-verify.

Passed Senate; Reported engrossed; Received in the House from the Senate, 3/29

SB 85        Hall

Relating to the verification of employment authorization by state contractors and state grant recipients, including the use of the federal E-verify program, and to authorization for the suspension of certain licenses held by private employers for the knowing employment of persons not lawfully present in this state; authorizing a fee.

Referred to Business & Commerce Committee, 1/24

SB 108        Hall

Relating to increasing the punishment for certain felony offenses committed by a person who is unlawfully present in the United States|

CURRENT ISSUES AND LEGISLATION

 

December 2016 KARW Legislative Update

KARW’S mission is to uphold the ideals of the Republican Party and support incumbent officials, as well Republican women and men seeking political offices.

S. 2614: Kevin and Avonte’s Law of 2016

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jul 14, 2016.          

H. R. 4919 Passed House, December 8, 2016

TITLE I--MISSING ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE PATIENT ALERT PROGRAM REAUTHORIZATION

Missing Americans Alert Program Act of 2016

(Sec. 102) This bill amends the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to revise and rename the Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program as the Missing Americans Alert Program and to reauthorize it through FY2021.

It directs the Department of Justice's (DOJ's) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to award grants to state and local law enforcement or public safety agencies to develop tracking technology programs to locate missing individuals with dementia or children with developmental disabilities. The BJA must give preference to grant applicants that partner with nonprofit organizations directly linked to individuals, and families of individuals, with dementia or developmental disabilities.

Additionally, it directs the BJA to award competitive grants to state and local law enforcement or public safety agencies and nonprofit organizations to develop or operate locally based proactive programs to prevent wandering and locate missing individuals with dementia or children with developmental disabilities.

The bill subjects grants under the Missing Americans Program to accountability provisions. DOJ's Office of Inspector General must conduct annual audits of selected grant recipients. The bill prohibits grants to nonprofit organizations that hold money in an offshore account to avoid tax liability. It also limits the use of grants under this bill for conferences that use more than $20,000 in DOJ funds.

DOJ must identify and report on duplicative grant awards. DOJ must also report annually to Congress certain information regarding the Missing Americans Alert Program.

TITLE II--EDUCATION AND OUTREACH

(Sec. 201) The bill amends the Missing Children's Assistance Act to specify that, with respect to training and technical assistance provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, cases involving missing and exploited children include cases involving children with developmental disabilities such as autism.

TITLE III--PRIVACY PROTECTIONS

(Sec. 302) DOJ must establish and certain grant recipients must comply with standards and best practices related to the use of tracking technology to locate missing individuals with dementia or developmental disabilities.

 

September 2016 KARW Legislative Update

KARW’S mission is to uphold the ideals of the Republican Party and support incumbent officials, as well Republican women and men seeking political offices.

The City of Houston Public Pension System

After 15 years of rising costs and seven months of negotiations, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner unveiled a preliminary pension reform plan Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at City Hall.

Turner says the 30-year fixed plan will pay off the estimated $7.7 billion the city owes its pension fund over the next three decades, cut yearly costs and require full yearly contributions to police, fire and municipal employee pensions.

“It does so in a cost-neutral fashion,” Turner said.

Turner says all three of the city’s pensions have identified benefit changes to cut the unfunded liability immediately by $2.5 billion.

“Your taxes are not being increased to reduce the $2.5 billion,” he said.

The city will also issue $1 billion in pension obligation bonds and lower the expected rate of return on pension investments from 8.5 percent to a safer 7 percent, which raised the unfunded liability figure to $7.7 billion from its previous $5.6 billion estimate.

Turner was joined by city and state leaders at the news conference, along with representatives from the police and municipal employee pension boards, who deferred comment to the mayor. However, there was one group that was noticeably absent: members of the firefighters’ pension board.

Turner said the firefighters' pension board agreed to all of the terms except a proposed new financial cap, which the mayor compared to a thermostat that must be kept at a set temperature: if future market conditions cause the costs to go over that set limit, the city and pension boards will work together to bring their costs back under the cap.

“I’m willing to give them the time to understand it and digest it, and we will continue to talk,” Turner said. “But I also want to make it very clear: it is a non-negotiable item.”

After the news conference, David Keller, chairman of the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund, released a statement, saying while his group continues working with the city, they have not reached an agreement on adjustments to the fund’s current plan.

"We have discussed economic changes that would fit within the guidelines set forth by the Mayor,” Keller wrote. “We have also presented issues that are important to us. However, no resolution has been made.”

Bill King, a longtime pension reform advocate who narrowly lost to Turner in a mayoral runoff, praised the city for taking a hard look at the issue. However, he says the city’s unfunded pension liability is actually around $8.3 million because of $600 million in previous pension debts.

“The problem I have is the same problem I’ve always had, which is we’re continuing to work with a broken model: defined benefit pension plans,” King said. “These are plans that you can never know what the cost of them are, and frankly, these numbers just don’t add up.”

King also said the “thermostat” cap plan would make up 35 percent of the payroll and is unrealistic.

“How are we going to hire new police officers and pay them a decent salary if we have to pay 35 percent on top of their salary and pension plan?” King asked.  

Turner says there will be changes in employee benefits; not to their existing paychecks, but to other areas like future cost of living adjustments and future benefit accrual rates. The city would not offer specifics Wednesday, saying the details are still being negotiated.

A final plan will be presented to the three pension systems, City Council, and the state legislature for approval.

Background Information

The City of Houston Public Pension System

By Josh McGee and Michelle Welch

On August 31, 2015, Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) defined the state of Houston’s public pension systems on a new report titled, “Swamped: How Pension Debt is Sinking the Bayou City.” This report reveals that the city of Houston owes public workers at least $3.1 billion for retirement benefits they have already earned.

Houston’s pension debt is now a billion dollars more than the city’s total general fund revenue, and the city is at a tipping point. If political leaders don’t enact real reforms, the pension debt, which is continuing to rise, will threaten the city’s ability to give workers and retirees the retirement they were promised. In addition, taxpayers may be forced to pay the price through higher taxes or reduced funding for roads, infrastructure, parks, and other public services that help make Houston a great place to live and work.

“Houston’s hardworking public employees deserve the fair and secure retirement they were promised. But, for more than a decade, local leaders have played political games with workers’ pensions,” McGee explained. “The city can no longer afford to ignore its pension problems and kick the can down the road. If Houston fails to swiftly and responsibly address the pension debt, the city risks going the way of Chicago—and both public workers and taxpayers will pay the price”

Houston finds itself at this tipping point due in large part to the fact that the city hasn’t been paying enough into the pension fund on an annual basis. Political leaders have failed to address this issue and, instead, are betting on unlikely investment returns to pay off the debt. For example, the pension systems for Houston’s firefighters and municipal employees use the highest investment return assumption for any major plan in the United States—8.5 percent. Meanwhile, the pension system for Houston’s police officers uses an investment return assumption of 8 percent, a number that is still higher than the national average.

At these optimistic, and arguably improbable, rates, Houston’s pension plans are only 75 percent funded, but if the projected rates of return were adjusted to a more reasonable 7 percent, the city’s plans would end up being only 63 percent funded. In other words, it is likely that the pension plans are in even worse shape than the city claims, and if Houston’s pension debt continues to grow, the city will face serious financial issues. In the report, McGee and Welch present a range of fair and sustainable solutions that would address the growing debt and put the city’s pension plans—and the city’s financial health—back on the road to recovery.

 

McGee and Welch Present Solutions

1.Obtaining local control of Houston’s pension systems, which would give local leaders the authority to negotiate directly with workers and to enact any changes at the local level;

2.Establishing a responsible payment schedule that will pay off Houston’s pension debt in 20 years or less and keep the pension systems debt-free in the future;

3.Re-evaluating the risky assumptions underlying Houston’s pension systems and setting more reasonable rates of return for the funds; and

4.Embedding accountability and transparency into the city’s pension systems, so that public workers and taxpayers alike have a clear understanding of the pension funds’ performance and the city’s overall financial health.

City leaders must make meaningful reforms and fix the pension systems once and for all so that Houston’s dedicated public servants receive the fair and secure retirements they deserve and were promised.

About the Laura and John Arnold Foundation

LJAF is a private foundation that is working to address our nation’s most pressing and persistent challenges using evidence-based, multi-disciplinary approaches. Its investments are currently focused on criminal justice, education, evidence-based policy and innovation, public accountability, and research integrity. LJAF has offices in Houston, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

Pray for our country and the military men and women who protect us.

DISCLAIMER: Political advertising paid for by Kingwood Area Republican Women PAC, Regina Thompson, Treasurer, P.O. Box 5906, Kingwood, TX 77325-5906. Political contributions are not tax deductible for Federal Income Tax purposes. Per the Texas Ethics Commission, all income must be reported and cannot be received from corporations. The information provided here is not an endorsement of any candidate. Kingwood Area Republican Women, its President, nor its Campaign Activities Chairperson endorse candidates. info@kingwoodrepublicanwomen.org

Summer 2016 KARW Legislative Update

KARW’S mission is to uphold the ideals of the Republican Party and support incumbent officials, as well Republican women and men seeking political offices.

KARW Member Alice Rekeweg Attends Republican National Convention

 

KARW member Alice Rekeweg among others from Harris County traveled to Cleveland, Ohio as an alternate delegate and met with legislators and policymakers. Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant interviwed Alice for The Israel News Talk Radio. In picture two, Alice proudly displays her patriotic mum. In picture three, she poses with Senate District 4 delegate Reginald C. Grant Jr.
  

Highlights from the 2016 Republican National Convention

By Stephen Rosenfeld

 

The 2016 Republican National Convention, in which delegates of the United States Republican Party chose the party's nominees for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States in the United States presidential election, 2016, was held July 18–21, 2016, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The event marked the third time Cleveland has hosted this event, the first since 1936. In addition to determining the party's national ticket, the convention ratified the party platform.

 

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Donald Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination in Cleveland and then launch a three-month general election campaign alongside the Republican nominee for vice president, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.                                        

According to Jeff Larson, CEO of the 2016 Republican National Convention, the speaker line-up included veterans, political outsiders, faith leaders, Trump family members, non-conventional speakers emphasizing real world experience. The convention’s theme, “Make America Great Again,” focused on the core themes of Republican Presidential Nominee Donald J. Trump’s campaign: national security, immigration, trade and jobs.

2016 REPUBLICAN PLATFORM

On Monday, July 18, the Republican National Committee passed the party’s platform. Below is a brief summary:

1. Tax cuts for the rich: "Wherever tax rates penalize thrift or discourage investment, they must be lowered.  Wherever current provisions of the code are disincentives for  economic growth,  they  must  be  changed… We propose to level the international playing field by lowering the corporate tax rate to be on a par  with,  or  below,  the  rates  of  other  industrial  nations."

2. Deregulate the banks: "The Republican vision for American banking calls for establishing transparent, efficient markets where consumers can obtain loans they need at reasonable rates based on market conditions. Unfortunately, in response to the financial institutions crisis of 2008-2009, the Democratic-controlled Congress enacted the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, otherwise known as Dodd-Frank."

3. Stop consumer protection: "The worst of Dodd-Frank is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, deliberately designed to be a rogue agency. It answers to neither Congress nor the executive, has its own guaranteed funding outside the appropriations process… If not abolished, it should be subjected to congressional appropriation."

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4. Start repealing environmental laws: "We call for a comprehensive review of federal regulations, especially those dealing with the environment, that make it harder and costly for Americans to rent, buy, or sell homes."

5. Start shrinking unions and union labor: "We renew our call for repeal of the Davis-Bacon law, which limits employment and drives up construction and maintenance costs for the benefit of unions… Although unionization has never been permitted in any government agency concerned with national security, the current Administration has reversed that policy for the Transportation Security Administration.  We will correct that mistake… We support the right of states to enact Right-to-Work laws and call for    national law to protect the economic liberty of the modern workforce."

6. Privatize federal railway service: "Amtrak is an extremely expensive   railroad   for   the   American taxpayers, who must subsidize every ticket. The federal government should allow private ventures to provide passenger service in the northeast corridor.  The same holds true with regard to high-speed and intercity rail across the country.   

7. No change in federal minimum wage: "Minimum wage is an issue that should be handled at the state and local level."

8. Cut government salaries and benefits: "The taxpayers spend an average of $35,000 a year per employee on non-cash benefits, triple the average non-cash compensation of the average worker in the private sector.  Federal employees receive pension benefits and vacation time wildly out of line with those of the private sector."

9. Appoint anti-choice Supreme Court justices: "Only a Republican president will appoint judges who respect the rule of law expressed within the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, including the inalienable right to life and the laws of nature and nature’s God, as did the late Justice Antonin Scalia."

10. Appoint anti-LGBT and anti-Obamacare justices: "Only such appointments will enable courts to begin to reverse the long line of activist decisions —  including Roe, Obergefell, and the Obamacare cases — that have usurped Congress’s and states’ lawmaking authority."

11. Legalize anti-LGBT discrimination: "We endorse the First Amendment Defense Act, Republican legislation in the House and Senate which will bar government discrimination against individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman."

12. Make Christianity a national religion: "We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage and further affirm the rights of religious students to engage in voluntary prayer at public school events and to have equal access to school facilities."

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13. Loosen campaign finance loopholes and dark money: "Freedom of speech includes the right to devote resources to whatever cause or candidate one supports. We oppose any restrictions or conditions that would discourage citizens from participating in the public square or limit their ability to promote their ideas, such as requiring private organizations to publicly disclose their donors to the government."

14. Loosen gun controls nationwide: "We support firearm reciprocity legislation to recognize the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves and their families in all 50 states.  We support constitutional carry statutes and salute the states that have passed them.  We oppose ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle."

15. Pass an anti-choice constitutional amendment: "We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear  that  the  Fourteenth  Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth."

16. End federal funding for Planned Parenthood: "We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare."

17. Allow states to shut down abortion Clinics: "We condemn the Supreme Court’s activist decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt striking down commonsense Texas laws providing for basic health and safety standards in abortion clinics."

18. Oppose stem cell scientific research: "We oppose embryonic stem cell research.  We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.  We support adult stem cell research and urge the restoration of the national placental stem cell bank created by President George H.W. Bush but abolished by his Democrat successor, President Bill Clinton. We oppose federal funding for harvesting embryos and call for a ban on human cloning."

19. Oppose executive branch policy making: "We condemn the current Administration’s unconstitutional expansion into areas beyond those specifically enumerated, including bullying of state and local governments in matters ranging from voter identification (ID) laws to immigration, from healthcare programs to  land  use  decisions,  and  from  forced  education  curricula  to  school  restroom policies."

20. Oppose efforts to end the electoral college: "We oppose the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact and any other scheme to abolish or distort the procedures of the Electoral College."

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21. "We support legislation to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote  and  secure  photo  ID  when  voting. We strongly oppose litigation against states exercising their sovereign authority to enact such laws."

22. Ignore undocumented immigrants when drawing congressional districts: "In order to preserve the principle of one person, one vote, we urge our elected representatives to ensure that citizenship, rather than mere residency, be made the basis for the apportionment of representatives among the states."

23. No labeling of GMO ingredients in food products: "The intrusive and expensive federal mandates on food options and menu labeling should be ended as soon as possible by a Republican Congress.  We oppose the mandatory labeling of genetically modified food, which has proven to be safe, healthy, and a literal life-saver for

24. Add work requirements to welfare and cut food stamps: Nearly all the work requirements for able-bodied adults, instituted by our landmark welfare reform of 1996, have been removed.  We will restore those provisions and, to correct a mistake made when the Food Stamp program was first created in 1964, separate the administration of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program from the Department of Agriculture.

25. Open America’s shores to more oil and gas drilling: "We support the opening of public lands and the outer continental shelf to exploration and responsible production, even if these resources will not be immediately developed."

26. Build the Keystone XL Pipeline: "The Keystone Pipeline has become a symbol of everything wrong with the current Administration’s ideological approach.  After years of delay, the President killed it to satisfy environmental extremists. We intend to finish that pipeline and others as part of our commitment to North American energy security."

27. Expand fracking and burying nuclear waste: "A federal judge has struck down the BLM’s rule on hydraulic fracturing and we support upholding this decision.  We respect the states’ proven ability to regulate the use of hydraulic fracturing, methane emissions, and horizontal drilling, and we will end the Administration’s disregard  of  the  Nuclear  Waste  Policy  Act long-term storage of nuclear waste."

28. No tax on carbon products: "We oppose any carbon tax… We urge the private sector to focus its resources on the development of carbon capture and sequestration technology still in its early stages here and overseas. "

29. Ignore global climate change agreements: "The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a political mechanism, not an unbiased scientific institution.  Its unreliability is reflected in its intolerance toward scientists and others who dissent from its orthodoxy.  We will evaluate its recommendations accordingly.  We reject the agendas of both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, which represent only the personal commitments   of   their   signatories; no

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 such   agreement can be binding upon the United States until it is submitted to and ratified by the Senate."

30. Privatize Medicare, the health plan for seniors: "Impose no changes for persons 55 or older.  Give others the option of traditional Medicare or transition to a premium-support model designed to strengthen patient choice, promote cost-saving competition among providers."

31. Turn Medicaid, the poor’s health plan, over to states: "Moving to a block grant approach would allow for state and local governments to create solutions for individuals and families in desperate need of help in addressing mental illness.  We respect the states’ authority and flexibility to exclude abortion providers from federal programs such as Medicaid and other healthcare and family planning programs so long as they continue to perform or refer for elective abortions."

32. No increasing Social Security benefits by taxing the rich: "As Republicans, we oppose tax increases and believe in the power of markets to create wealth and to help secure the future of our Social Security system."

33. Repeal Obamacare: "Any honest agenda for improving healthcare must start with repeal of the dishonestly named Affordable Care Act of 2010: Obamacare."

34. Give internet service providers monopoly control: "The President ordered the chair of the supposedly independent Federal Communications Commission to impose upon the internet rules devised in the 1930s for the telephone monopoly… The internet’s free market needs to be free and open to all ideas and competition without the government or service providers picking winners and losers."

35. Make English the official U.S. language: "We both encourage the preservation of heritage tongues and support English as the nation’s official language, a unifying force essential for the advancement of immigrant communities and our nation as a whole."

36. No amnesty for undocumented immigrants: "Illegal immigration endangers everyone, exploits the taxpayers, and insults all who aspire to enter America legally.  We oppose any form of amnesty for those who, by breaking the law, have disadvantaged those who have obeyed it."

37. Build a border wall to keep immigrants out: "Our highest priority, therefore, must be to secure our borders and all ports of entry and  to  enforce our immigration laws. That is why we support building a wall along our southern border and protecting all ports of entry.  The border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic."

38. Require government verification of citizenship of all workers: "Use of the E-verify program —  an internet-based system that verifies the employment authorization and identity of employees —  must be made mandatory nationwide.  We reaffirm our

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endorsement of the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements — to ensure that public funds are not given to  persons  not  legally  present in this country."

39. Penalize cities that give sanctuary to migrants: "Because 'sanctuary cities' violate federal law and endanger their own citizens, they should not be eligible for federal funding. Using state licenses to reward people in the country illegally is an affront to the rule of law and must be halted."

40. Puerto Rico should be a state but not Washington DC: "We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state… A [D.C.} statehood amendment was soundly rejected by the states when last proposed in 1976 and should not be revived."

41. Support traditional marriage but no other families: "Children raised in a two-parent  household  tend  to  be  physically and emotionally healthier, more likely to do well in school, less likely to use drugs and alcohol, engage  in  crime  or  become  pregnant  outside  of  marriage. We oppose policies and laws that create a financial incentive for or encourage cohabitation."

42. Privatize government services in the name of fighting poverty: "We call for removal of structural impediments which progressives throw in the path of poor people: Over-regulation of start-up enterprises, excessive licensing requirements, needless restrictions on formation of schools and day-care centers serving neighborhood families, and restrictions on providing public services in fields like transport and sanitation."

43. Require bible study in public schools: "A good understanding   of   the   Bible   being indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry, we encourage state legislatures to offer the Bible in a literature curriculum as an elective in America’s high schools."

44. Replace traditional public schools with privatized options: "We support options for learning, including home-schooling, career and technical education, private or parochial schools, magnet schools, charter schools, online learning, and early-college high schools."

45. Replace sex education with abstinence-only approaches: "We renew our call for replacing “family planning” programs for teens with sexual risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior.  That approach —  the only one always effective against premarital pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease —  empowers teens to achieve optimal health outcomes.  We oppose school-based clinics that provide referral or counseling for abortion and contraception and believe that federal funds should not be used in mandatory or universal mental health, psychiatric, or socio-emotional screening programs."

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46. Privatize student loans instead of lowering interest rates: "The federal government should not be in the business of originating student loans.  In order to bring down college costs and give students access to a multitude of financing options, private sector participation in student financing should be restored."

47. Restore the death penalty: "The constitutionality of the death penalty is firmly settled by its explicit mention in the Fifth Amendment.  With the murder rate soaring in our great cities, we condemn the Supreme Court’s erosion of the right of the people to enact capital punishment in their states."

48. Dramatically increase Pentagon budget: "Quite simply, the Republican Party is committed to rebuilding the U.S. military into the strongest on earth, with vast superiority over any other nation or group of nations in the world."

49. Cancel Iran nuclear treaty and expand nuclear arsenal: "We should abandon arms control treaties that benefit  our  adversaries  without  improving our national security. We must fund, develop, and deploy a multi-layered missile defense system. We must modernize nuclear weapons and their delivery platforms."

50. Reaffirm support for Israel and slam sanctions movement: "We reaffirm   America’s   commitment to Israel’s security and will ensure that Israel maintains a qualitative military edge over any and all adversaries… We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier and specifically recognize that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS) is anti-Semitic in nature and seeks to destroy Israel. Therefore, we call for effective legislation to thwart actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel, or persons or entities doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories, in a discriminatory manner."

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America's retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of "Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting" (AlterNet Books, 2008).

 

Pray for our country and the military men and women who protect us.

ISCLAIMER: Political advertising paid for by Kingwood Area Republican Women PAC, Regina Thompson, Treasurer, P.O. Box 5906, Kingwood, TX 77325-5906. Political contributions are not tax deductible for Federal Income Tax purposes. Per the Texas Ethics Commission, all income must be reported and cannot be received from corporations. The information provided here is not an endorsement of any candidate. Kingwood Area Republican Women, its President, nor its Campaign Activities Chairperson endorse candidates. info@kingwoodrepublicanwomen.org

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June 2016 KARW Legislative Update

KARW’S mission is to uphold the ideals of the Republican Party and support incumbent officials, as well Republican women and men seeking political offices.

  • KARW Members Met with Legislators in Washington DC

KARW members President Janie Branham and Angela Conrad (Humble ISD Board of Trustees) traveled to Washington DC with the Lake Houston Area Chamber delegation and met with legislators and policymakers. The delegation met with Senators and members of Congress and presented briefings on federal legislation and regulatory policies that impact business and our community. The briefings included important stances on Tax Reform, Healthcare, and Education. A summary of the Chamber’s positions on these issues and the positions presented to the federal legislators are outlined below.

TAX REFORM

Tax reform is the number one issue for businesses in the Lake Houston area. These businesses are not only concerned about high taxes but also the complexity of the tax code which leads to an excessive amount of administrative costs. The Lake Houston Area Chamber (LHAC):

  •    supports a streamlined tax system that increases the predictability and attractiveness of the American market. supports efforts to reduce corporate income taxes to increase business investment and profitability.
  •  supports the permanent authorization of the Work Opportunity and Welfare-To-Work tax credits in order to provide continuity and more certainty in these programs, to increase the employment of disadvantaged workers, and to improve local economies.
  •  supports efforts to end the "temporary" federal unemployment tax surtax, to repeal the accelerated payment of the federal unemployment tax, and to undertake a comprehensive review of the unemployment tax program to determine its effectiveness, fairness, and value.
  •  supports tax code reforms and trade provisions that will improve the ability of U.S. companies to compete fairly in global markets.
  •  supports federal tax rates that will be more consistent with those in other counties and remove disincentives for domestic re-investment of foreign income.

HEALTHCARE

The Lake Houston Area Chamber supports healthcare reform that addresses the irrepressible costs of our healthcare system and improves the quality of healthcare and expands coverage to the uninsured. The LHAC supports:

  •  changing components of the Medicare System by fixing structural problems that will allow the program to continue.
  •  legislation that would improve patient access to care through expanded utilization of pharmacists by extending them healthcare provider status.
  •  making coverage more affordable by monitoring an opposing health insurance regulations that increase the costs and undermine the concept of a free market for contractual medical services without contributing to better access and better quality of care for patients.
  •  the interstate marketing of individual health plans and allowing insurance to be purchased across state lines.
  •  increasing the disclosure of providers and carriers in pricing and performances.
  •  legislation ensuring access to healthcare cost transparency for consumers.

REGULATORY REFORM

The Lake Houston Area Chamber supports regulatory structures that are consistent and open and allow businesses to adequately plan. The LHAC feels policy makers should focus on reducing excessive regulations in order to promote growth and job creation. The LHAC:

  •  opposes expanding the authority of federal agencies to intervene in local and state business affairs, particularly where such authority is duplicative or inconsistent with current regulations.
  •  opposes efforts to strengthen the regulation authority under the Congressional Review Act or similar legislation
  •  opposes efforts to sidestep congressional approval before major rules (defined as having a cost in excess of $100 million) can take effect.
  •  supports credit and debit card swipe fee reforms which protect merchants and retailers from fees mandated by credit card companies.
  •  opposes rulemaking to redefine and limit the ability of employers to use exemptions from overtime compensations.
  •  opposes the U.S. Department of Labor’s draft rules for overtime expansion that dramatically increases compliance costs for the retail and restaurant business by $745 million as well as allow workers making up to $970 a week to qualify.
  •  opposes the Department of Labor’s major new regulation that would make the DOL the primary financial regulator of retirement savings financial advice, thus increasing costs and reducing access.

POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION

The Lake Houston Area Chamber supports policies to increase college access and success, affordability, and transparency. LHAC supports:

  •  efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) to support community college access and success by improving student aid programs, ensuring accurate and complete measurements of student success, reducing regulatory burdens, and embracing institutional support.
  •  legislation to ensure student loans are affordable and simplifying the federal student aid application.
  •  federal funding for key community college programs that are at least equal to the prior year’s funding levels.
  •  efforts to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

PRE-K-12 EDUCATION

The Lake Houston Area Chamber supports government measures giving flexibility to local school districts to allocate federal funds to the areas of greatest need. The LHAC opposes measures to place demands on the specifics of spending federal monies. Additionally, the LHAC supports reform for special education (IDEA) grants. The LHAC also supports an exception from "maintenance of effort" for school districts that demonstrate efficiencies in lowering costs while maintaining all required programs.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

The Lake Houston Area Chamber supports agreements which help small and large businesses reach new customers by opening foreign markets. This support includes:

  •  the improvement of cross-border transportation infrastructure including improvements for highways, ports of entry, and facilitate trade.
  •  an end to export control regulations that limit U.S. exports of widely available technology products, shutting U.S. companies out of foreign markets.
  •  ensuring a level playing field for U.S. companies and free competition in foreign domestic markets through judicious use of competition policy, intellectual property law, technical standards, government procurement rules, and investment requirements.

 legislation that makes the flow of international commerce faster, cheaper, and more efficient.

ENERGY

The Lake Houston Area is a vital part of the Greater Houston Region which is one of the largest producers of oil and gas in the world. LHAC supports:

  •  regulatory frame work that encourages responsible development of newly discovered energy resources and keeping industry taxes fair and conducive to economic expansion and growth.
  •  streamlining the permitting process for energy infrastructure projects, and resisting regulations that burden the economy and threaten the reliability of our energy supply.
  •  efforts to remove unreasonable restriction on development of new energy resources, such as shale natural gas resources, based on unsound or unproven technical assessment of environmental impact.

TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING

The Lake Houston Area Chamber supports providing long term transportation investments based on regional priorities to facilitate economic growth. This includes:

  •  programs that result in adequate federal investments in the nation’s transportation systems that are safe, sustainable, and predictable
  •  dedicated funding mechanisms that encourage public/private partnerships.
  •  transportation programs that enhance the movement of goods and U.S. economic competitiveness.
  •  programs that facilitate economic development and increase access to jobs and markets should be prioritized for funding.

 

May 2016 KARW Legislative Update

KARW’S mission is to uphold the ideals of the Republican Party and support incumbent officials, as well Republican women and men seeking political offices.

H.R.711 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)

A bipartisan bill has been filed in the U.S. House of Representatives to treat teachers, firefighters and police officers who paid into Social Security the same as other American workers. U.S. Representatives Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts), senior members of the House Ways & Means Committee, are leading the effort to alter the controversial Social Security provision known as the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).

"Our bill strengthens the solvency of Social Security while guaranteeing our public servants receive the full benefits they earned when paying into the program," said Brady. "Those who teach our children and protect and serve us every day deserve equal treatment when they retire. Social Security benefits should be based on your real-life contributions, not some arbitrary formula."

"If Americans are going to enjoy their golden years financially secure and comfortable, they must have a sound retirement plan. That is why I have been a strong supporter of the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act. Our dedicated public employees have paid into Social Security and they are entitled to their full benefits, just like any other worker. I am happy to join with my colleague Congressman Kevin Brady in a bipartisan effort to provide fair and just treatment for our retired public employees," said Congressman Richard E. Neal.

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Brady and Neal introduced H.R. 711, the Equal Treatment for Public Servants Act. It repeals the 1980’s era WEP which impacts 1.3 million public servants who earn a pension at work as well as in Social Security. The WEP can dock monthly Social Security benefits as much as $413 a month. Instead, H.R. 711 bases Social Security on real life earnings and work history.

In summary, H.R. 711 amends title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) (OASDI) of the Social Security Act to replace the current windfall elimination provision (WEP) (that reduces the Social Security benefits of workers who also have pension benefits from employment not covered by Social Security) for individuals who: (1) become eligible for old-age insurance benefits after 2016 or would attain age 62 after 2016 and become eligible for disability insurance benefits after 2016, (2) subsequently become entitled to such benefits, and (3) have earnings derived from none covered service performed after 1977.

 Establishes a new formula for the treatment of non-covered earnings in determining Social Security benefits.

 Prescribes a second formula to modify the WEP for current beneficiaries.

 Directs the Commissioner of Social Security to recover overpayments from certain individuals.

There has been much bipartisan support of HR 711 and Kevin Brady (Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee in U.S. Congress) believes it will pass very soon. When it does pass, the benefits of the new Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act will start in 2017 for all current and future retirees. Republican Primary Runoff Election

Early Voting: May 16-20

Election May 24

 

April 2016 KARW Legislative Update

KARW’S mission is to uphold the ideals of the Republican Party and support incumbent officials, as well Republican women and men seeking political offices.

Primary Runoff Election Dates May 16-20 & May 24

Mark your calendar and make sure you vote:

2016 Early Voting Republican Primary Runoff is May 16-20. Election May 24.

The closest race of the day was for Harris County Republican Party Chairman where Paul Simpson and Rick Ramos each received between 39-40% of the vote.  Because neither candidate received a majority of the vote they will face off in a runoff. 

2016 Republican State Convention & National Convention

State Convention, May 12-14, Dallas Texas National Convention, July 18-21, Cleveland, Ohio

We are requesting prayers for KARW President, Janie Branham, and Past President Alice Rekeweg to be elected as Alternates to attend the 2016 National Republican Convention. Alice is the Harris County GOP Senatorial District 4 Chairmen. She organized the Senate District 4 Convention at The Overlook on Saturday, March 19. It was awesome!

Pray for our country and the military men and women who protect us.

Texas Bills Signed Into Law

The 84th Texas Legislature has a lot of new laws on the books. While some of these new laws affect only a few Texans, others will have a big impact on many. We wanted to give KARW members a peek at some of these new laws while explaining (in layman’s terms) what exactly they mean.

Texas Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouses of Disabled Veterans Amendment, Proposition 2

Proposition 2 allows for the spouses of disabled veterans to take a one hundred percent property tax exemption. Previously the law applied only to spouses of those who died after 2010.

Open Carry Handgun Law [HB 910]

House Bill 910, which will take effect on January 1st, 2016, will allow people with Concealed Handgun Licenses to openly carry a handgun in a belt or shoulder holster.

Campus Carry [SB 11]

Senate Bill No. 11, which will take effect on August 1, 2016, amends the Texas Government and Penal Codes to allow handgun license holders, in some circumstances, to carry a concealed handgun on public and private colleges and universities in Texas, as well as other independent institutions of higher learning (apply to public junior or community colleges August 1, 2017).

Liability Insurance for Uber and Lyft Drivers [HB 1733]

Drivers for Uber and Lyft (or any transportation network company) must maintain liability insurance amounting to $50,000 for bodily injury or death of each person in a car accident, $100,000 for bodily injury or death per incident, $25,000 for damage to property of others, uninsured motorist coverage, and personal injury protection, per House Bill 1733, Jan 1, 2016.

Leases With No Security Deposit [SB 1367]

State Bill 1367, which will take effect on January 1, 2016, states that if a tenant signs a lease with no security deposit and is liable for damages on surrender of the property, the landlord must notify the tenant on or before the date where the matter is referred to a consumer reporting agency or third party debt collector.

3 Strikes for Problem Nursing Homes [SB 304]

State Bill 304, which officially goes into effect a year later than most other bills this session (September 1st, 2016), serves to revoke the operating licenses of nursing homes which are accused of three or more “serious health and safety violations” which have caused (or are likely to cause) serious injury, harm, impairment, or death.

Care to Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [HB 3404]

The State of Texas has enrolled in a national study on care for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, per House Bill 3404.

Improvement of Healthcare for Veterans [SB 1463]

The governor may negotiate with the Department of Veterans Affairs to coordinate efforts to improve the healthcare of Texas veterans, which may include the establishment of a veteran’s hospital in the Rio Grande Valley region of the state, per State Bill 1463, effective immediately.

Minimum Score For College-Level Examination Program Credits [SB 453]

Effective immediately, the minimum score for a high school student to receive credit through a college-level examination program has dropped from 60 to 50, per State Bill 453.

Jury Appreciation Week [SB 565]

The first week of May has been designated Jury Appreciation Week per State Bill 565.

New Shark Fin Law [HB 1579]

House Bill 1579 will make it illegal for any person to posse a finfish with the tail removed unless the fish has been processed to a certified wholesale or retail dealer. That means that sharks cannot be fished simply for their fins; the entire carcass must be processed. Additionally, a person can no longer buy, offer to buy, sell, offer to sell, posses, transport, barter, or exchange a shark fin.

Search and Seizure of Cell Phones [HB 1396]

Police must now obtain a search warrant in order to search a persons’ cell phone or wireless communication device, per House Bill 1396, which will take effect on September 1st, 2015.

Sales of Alcohol Near Cutoff Time [HB 824]

If a person enters a store that sells alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption elsewhere (i.e. a liquor store) during the hours where the sale of alcohol is legal, the store owner may allow the customer to shop and purchase alcohol for a reasonable amount of time, even if the actual purchase of the alcohol comes outside of the designated hours for alcohol sale, per House Bill 824. This law goes into effect immediately.

Reduced Price Breakfast Program at Public Schools [HB 1305]

Texas schools, effective immediately per House Bill 1305, must participate in the national reduced-price breakfast program or must develop a locally funded program in compliance with the federal program.

Human Trafficking Prevention Month [HB 2290]

House Bill 2290 designates January as Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

New Private Turnpikes or Tolls [HB 565]

Before a new private turnpike or toll is approved by the state highway system, the commission must hold a public meeting concerning the project in the region where the project will be located, per House Bill 565, which goes into effect immediately.

Pay for County Judges [SB 1025]

County judges are entitled to an annual salary supplement from the state amounting to 18 percent of the annual compensation provided for district judges if at least 40% of functions that the judge performs are judicial functions, per State Bill 1025.

Official Nickname of Texas [HCR 78]

Per House Concurrent Resolution 78, the Texas legislature has designated “the Lone Star State” as the official nickname of Texas.

Official State Hashtag [HCR 105]

House Concurrent Resolution 105 has designated #Texas as the official hashtag of Texas. Yes, you read that correctly… Texas has an official hashtag.

Voluntary Contribution to Feed Hungry Texans [SB 1978]

All citizens who apply for a hunting license will have the opportunity, effective immediately, to contribute $1 or more to non-profit organizations committed to providing hunters ways to contribute legally harvested deer meat to local food assistance providers, per State Bill 1978.

Creation of Infectious Disease Task Force [HB 2950]

In light of the recent Ebola scare, House Bill 2950 has enacted, effective immediately, a task force on infectious disease preparedness and response. The task force will provide recommendations to state agencies on related to responses to infectious diseases, Ebola.

Evaluation of Middle School Performance [HB 2804]

In evaluating the performance of public middle schools, House Bill 2804 designates the criteria as dropout out rates; the percentage of students in grades seven and eight who receive instruction in preparing for high school, college, and a career; and any additional indicators of student performance not captured in standardized tests.

Attorney General Oversees State Employee Leave [HB 2037]

House Bill 2037 delegates authority to the Texas Attorney General to make sure all peace officers are compensated at the correct rate, according to the General Appropriations Act. The law includes law enforcement officers commissioned by the attorney general.

 

DISCLAIMER: Political advertising paid for by Kingwood Area Republican women PAC, Regina Thompson, Treasurer, P.O. Box 5906, Kingwood, TX 77325-5906. Political contributions are not tax deductible for Federal Income Tax.
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