FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 04/20/2015
Rep. White Passes Legislation Promoting Logging Industry; Meets with Jasper Lady Dawgs
Austin, TX - Monday, we began another week in the Texas Legislature by passing House Bill 9, relating to member contributions to the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS). This bill would place ERS on a path of actuarial soundness. HB 9 addresses a serious issue that could impact Texas' bond rating and economy. Also, this legislation paves the way for future increases in state retiree pay.
Also on Monday, I was honored to meet with Richard Hazlewood, Superintendent of Kirbyville ISD. We had great discussion on education in Southeast Texas. He and I discussed issues dealing with accountability, boosting teacher compensation, and generally supporting our Texas public schools.
On Tuesday, I laid out HB 84 in the Committee on Ways & Means. This bill would provide fair and equitable tax relief for our logging industry. This is a vital industry to the Southeast Texas economy. With Southeast Texas being the largest provider of timber within the State of Texas, franchise tax relief for the logging industry will create more jobs and supercharge the Southeast Texas economy.
Wednesday, I laid out HB 86, or the Texas Self Sufficiency Act, relating to the creation of a select committee to evaluate the effects of a reduction in or the elimination of federal funding on the state budget due to federal fiscal policy. As the federal government has increasing difficulty meeting its financial obligations, the State of Texas should have a plan in place in the event that federal funds are severely reduced.
Thursday, I passed the first three bills of the session through the Local and Consent Calendar. HB 104, HB 219, and HB 431. HB 104 decreased the regulatory burden on barbers and cosmetologists in Texas. In honor of Game Warden Wesley W. Wagstaff, HB 219 designates FM 1293 in Hardin County as "Wagstaff Memorial Highway." HB 431 directs the juvenile justice stakeholders to develop recommendations to protect juvenile records.
I would also like to congratulate the Jasper Lady Dawg soccer team on a fantastic season where these ladies made it to the State Semi-Finals and had a final record of 26-1. Thursday, I had the honor of recognizing these young women on the House Floor and met with all of them. We had a great time together eating ice cream at the State Capitol. They are a great group of young ladies and I am proud to represent them in the Texas House of Representatives.
Friday, the House convened to hear several important bills. First, we heard House Bill. This bill clarifies the regulatory power of state and local governments. Moreover, this legislation provides the Southeast Texas oil and gas industry certainty that it will have the ability to develop their mineral rights and continue risking capital and creating jobs. Most important, HB 40 provides the Railroad Commission, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and local governments the ability to protect the health and safety of all Texans.
The Texas House also passed HB 910. This bill has passed the Senate and after Governor Abbott signs this pro-2nd Amendment legislation, Texans that possess a handgun license will have the choice to carry concealed or unconcealed (open carry). I am a proud joint-author of this legislation.
The House stands adjourned until Monday at 2 p.m.