House Representative

White, James

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 04/13/2015

Rep. White Listens to Constituents; Supports Gov. Abbott's Pre-K Plan

Austin, TX- Monday, I kicked off the week by presenting two of my bills in the Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures. House Bill 104 and House Bill 578 would allow licensed cosmetologists to practice under their licenses at special events such as weddings. Under current statute, to hire a cosmetologist to comb, curl, or pin your hair the service would have to be done in a licensed facility. These bills aim to enhance important events in Texans lives and eliminate unnecessary regulations on private sector jobs like barbers and stylists.

Last week, the House passed its version of the state budget to be sent to the Senate before heading to a conference committee. This Tuesday, the House passed several common sense, financially conservative bills. House Joint Resolution 8, is a proposed constitutional amendment that would direct spillover funds from the economic stabilization fund, also known as the "Rainy Day Fund," to be used for the retirement of state debt. Essentially, when the cap on the fund is reached, instead of going back into the general revenue the funds can be used responsibly to reduce debt. While the many other states are still struggling to leave the recession, Texas retains more economic prosperity. The state should take the conscientious choice and use funds appropriately to reduce future debt so our children and our children's children can live free and prosperous.

The House also engrossed HB 8, relating to the deposit of money received from the federal government. Currently, money received from the federal government is included in the general revenue fund as an unintended consequence from previous legislation. House Bill 8 seeks to rectify that problem by increasing financial transparency and providing an accurate reflection of the State’s financial status. Finally, the House passed HB 5 which would require the Legislative Budget Board to complete strategic financial reviews of state agencies in odd number years. Both HB 8 and HB 5 increase government financial transparency. I am proud of these pieces of legislation because the government should be held accountable for taxpayer dollars.

Also Tuesday, Mothers Against Drunk Driving visited to the Capitol advocating for bills to prevent drunk driving and underage drinking. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jennifer Green who is the Walk Like MADD Chair for 2015. We had the opportunity to discuss the importance of public safety and the negative effects of drinking and driving as well as underage drinking. Coming up in November is the Beaumont area Walk Like MADD event to be hosted at Lumberton High School.

First thing Wednesday morning, I had a nice meeting with Becky Larocca of Kountze. Ms. Larocca was representing the Texas Healthcare Association, and in our talk we were able to discuss the importance of proper medical care especially in rural Texas. Small towns have many issues ranging from transportation to maintenance of facilities. I have been diligently working to ensure these issues are being identified by the legislature and the proper discussions are being held to rectify these issues.

Wednesday, the House took time to recognize retired teachers in Texas. It was an honor for me to be able to recognize our retired Southeast Texas Teachers in their State Capitol.

Following the recognition of our retired teachers, we stayed focused on education and began working on HB 4 which relates to a high quality public school prekindergarten. Various studies indicate that spending strategic amounts on Pre-K provides young Texans with a solid educational foundation; and truly, increasing academic achievement, boosting college graduation rates, decreasing dependence on social services, and incarceration. That is, making wise decisions today ensure that our state is more prosperous and free in the future. I am proud to stand with our Governor in voting for this piece of legislation that was not too much of a deviation from current law.

Also on Wednesday, the House voted on HB 12 which solidifies the Border Prosecution Unit previously created by Governor Perry’s office to prosecute border crime. I was honored to vote responsibly in favor of this bill to take the proper steps in securing our southernmost border, and maintain safe communities in Southeast Texas.

Following the adjournment of the House, the Committee on Juvenile Justice and Family Issues met in which I laid out HB 547 which creates a specific category of marriage called covenant marriage, recognizing marriage between a man and a woman. This is a type of marriage that encourages counseling before divorce and is based on the promise that strong families are the cornerstone of a strong culture and vibrant economy.

Thursday morning, I laid out House Bill 618 which relates to eligibility for course credit and high school diplomas of students enrolled in educational programs provided by the Windham School District in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. This bill would allow offenders to earn high school credits in order to attain a high school diploma. Educating our offenders and training them for the workforce ensures that they are productive citizens once they are released from prison.

The House stands adjourned until Monday at 2 p.m.