FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/16/2016
Representative Jeff Leach Pre-Files Legislation in Advance of the 85th Legislative Session
AUSTIN - Today, State Representative Jeff Leach pre-filed his preliminary legislative package in advance of the 85th Legislative Session, which convenes on January 10, 2017. As reflected in his pre- filing package of 15 bills, Leach's legislative priorities include reforms and improvements to our state's foster care system, restraints on the size and scope of state government and spending, added legal safeguards for vulnerable women and victims of sex trafficking, public safety and law enforcement reforms, public education improvements and additional initiatives aimed at keeping Texas strong, prosperous and free.
“As a State Representative, I am committed more than ever to serving, fighting and advocating for the people of District 67," stated Representative Leach. "The most important part of my job is to listen to and proactively seek input from constituents to ensure that my office is responsive to their needs and concerns. My initial legislative portfolio is carefully crafted based on this valued feedback and I am eager to continue our work – together – to ensure our community and state remain strong for the Texans of today and the future Texans of tomorrow.”
During the interim period, Representative Leach met with numerous constituents, community and statewide leaders, business and non-profit leaders, law enforcement personnel, parents, educators and students to listen, learn and seek legislative feedback concerning the various challenges and opportunities facing District 67 and the State of Texas. As a result, the following bills have been pre-filed in advance of the 85th Legislative Session:
House Bill 610 – Strengthens Texas CPS and Foster Care Systems by creating an additional voice and advocate for children placed in foster care by providing caregivers of foster children the opportunity to testify during court hearings and proceedings.
House Bill 611 – Commonly known as “Sanctuary Cities” legislation, House Bill 611 makes Texas safer by preventing political subdivisions from implementing immigration policies that violate federal and state law.
House Bill 612 – Protects Texas women and victims of human trafficking from being coerced or threatened to undergo an unwanted abortion.
House Bill 613 – Limits the growth of state spending and the Texas budget to the growth rate of population coupled with inflation.
House Bill 614 – Ensures Texas has the water resources for today and the water infrastructure for tomorrow by streamlining the permitting process for the development of water reservoirs under the Texas
Commission on Environmental Quality – eliminating burdensome red tape while adding concrete, reasonable permitting timelines and deadlines.
House Bill 615 – Reforms the Texas STAAR Test regime by revising the mandates for fifth and eighth grade levels, reducing the over-reliance on standardized testing and shifting the focus to overall student performance and growth.
House Bill 616 – Prohibits Texas State Representatives from unduly influencing and picking winners and losers in the Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs point-system for awarding low-income housing tax credits.
House Bill 617 – Promotes American Exceptionalism and Patriotism by ensuring that our state's Social Studies curriculum emphasizes the significance of the key historical events surrounding the formation of our great nation, including focus on our Founder’s core principles, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
House Bill 618 – Provides local law enforcement agencies with greater tools to keep our communities safe, including real-time access to offender, parole and warrant status.
House Bill 619 – Comforts Texas families grieving the loss of a pre-born child by allowing state-issued stillbirth certificates to be issued at the request of the parent without undue and unnecessary bureaucratic red-tape and restrictions.
House Bill 620 – Promotes local control by providing school districts with greater flexibility over their school calendars.
House Bill 621 – Removes burdensome training and fees for law enforcement personnel by allowing active law enforcement officers to obtain their state-issued “License to Carry” (LTC) upon the completion of state-approved peace officer training – eliminating unnecessary barriers for law enforcement who seek to obtain their LTC.
House Bill 622 – Promotes transparency by requiring taxpayer funded Economic Development Corporations to follow the same rules and procurement processes set forth by their authorizing unit for the design and construction of projects and services.
House Bill 623 – Provides greater flexibility for municipal members of certain water districts by granting additional authority over appointments made to the governing board of the district.
House Bill 624 – Allows District Clerks to electronically post legal notices - bringing them up to speed with processes already implemented for County Clerks in Texas.
In addition to this list of pre-filed legislation, Leach will continue crafting a variety of legislative initiatives over the coming weeks to pursue during the 85th Legislative Session.
A fourth-generation Texan, born and raised in Plano, Representative Leach serves on the House Committee on Government Transparency & Operation and the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence. Leach practices at the Texas law firm of Gray, Reed & McGraw, P.C. where he specializes in general and civil commercial litigation, real estate and construction law. Representative Leach and his wife Becky, a small business owner, are the proud parents of Brady (age eight), Charlotte (age six) and Landry (age two). They are active members of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, where they have served for several years in the Young Families Ministry.