FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/04/2015
State Rep. White Sponsors Honorary Pages; Promotes Local Control
First thing Monday morning my office hosted an honorary page, Elijah Eason. Elijah is a bright young man from Lumberton and it was a pleasure to have him visit his state Capitol. In his time visiting the Capital, Mr. Eason had access to the House floor and gaveled in parliamentary procedures. He and I also took photos on the House floor. It is gratifying to see young people take an active role in government, and I look forward to seeing great things from Mr. Eason, I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors. I was also blessed with a second honorary page later in the week. Carson Hon, the daughter of the Polk County District Attorney, Lee Hon, and sister to my Legislative Intern, William Hon, had the opportunity to learn more about the legislative process and gavel through parliamentary procedure. It was a pleasure to host this future state legislator at her State Capitol.
Monday, I asked that the House stand adjourned in memory of Jasper Parrish from Saratoga. In a tragic loss of life, young Jasper died in an accident. When I get news like this from the district it breaks my heart. My prayers and thoughts are with the Parrish family.
Tuesday, the House passed two bills, I was proud to vote for House Bill 1388 to honor the legacy of heroes in Texas. HB 1388 helps firefighters and emergency medical technicians get insurance for life changing medical conditions. There are inherent risks when entering these professions and these individuals know the risks. We thank them for their service and the State should not deny them benefits when they are diagnosed with illnesses. Also, the House voted to pass Senate Bill 835 which will increase the penalty available to those who make fraudulent claims of military service. This law was passed in response to claims that individuals were manufacturing fraudulent military records for the purpose of securing preferences, admission, or other benefits reserved for persons with actual military service. American veterans are heroes and it is highly disrespectful for any individual to claim the benefits that veterans receive without the service. With the regular session in the last month, I continue to aggressively present legislation that expands individual liberty and opportunity.
Tuesday, I laid out HB 2045, which would allow attorneys who have passed the Bar exam and are allowed to practice law in other states to be qualified to take the Texas Bar. This bill would encourage students who are graduating law school out of state to take the Bar in that state, but allow them to come and take the Texas Bar. This would allow greater access for bright young minds in the State of Texas to practice law.
After a lengthy day debating on the floor, I had another bill layout. I laid out House Bill 92, which would decriminalize the possession of a Bowie Knife. Currently, there is no definition of a Bowie Knife and the criminalization is against the namesake of a Texas legend. Current statute would still place regulation on certain knives. Over the weekend, I had a great evening at the Friends of NRA Banquet in Jasper and was delighted to meet so many wonderful citizens and friends. I was also had the winning bid for a Bowie Knife that was auctioned off at this great event.
Wednesday, the House passed a bill to take the correct steps in eliminating high stakes testing. HB 1164 returns the right to educate back to the teachers, by giving them the capacity to determine whether their students are ready to pass on to the next grade as opposed to high stakes state testing. In the committee hearing for this bill, there was extensive testimony given that these tests, regardless of the grade, can be a large burden on students and teachers psychologically. Currently, teachers are essentially forced to prepare students to take the state test rather than educate them on the subject materials. HB 1164 allows teachers to educate based on what is pertinent, rather than what the state standards require.
Lastly, the education of our youth is one of the most important tasks delegated to the State. However, with the involvement of the federal government, the overlap between differing levels of government creates a patchwork of regulations that can hinder a school's performance. Broad and sweeping federal regulations cannot take into account how school districts operate on a local level. This is why I have authored HB 1065 which would return local control to the states. HB 1065 is an interstate compact that would reinstate the power of the state in the operation of Primary and Secondary education. All current law would remain in place and it would be the responsibility of the state legislature to repeal or enact new laws regarding education. A return to local control would allow for more local voices close to the issue to be heard. On a federal level there too many voices providing broad solutions that overwhelm our Congressmen and Senators. It is important for the benefit of our children that local control be returned to the state.