FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/30/2017
85TH LEGISLATIVE SESSION HAS COME TO AN END
Austin, TX-- On Monday, after 140 days of grueling debate and several intense moments, the 85th Legislative Session officially came to a close. After handling over 4,000 constituent emails and phone calls, drafting 272 resolutions honoring significant achievements from District 68, and passing 17 House bills and 6 Senate bills, Representative Drew Springer of HD 68 helped to pass several key pieces of pro-life, Second Amendment, and pro-rural legislation. As one of just a handful of rural representatives, Rep. Springer worked diligently to ensure that rural values were well-represented in the Texas Legislature.
The final budget, Senate Bill 1, was approved by the Texas House which appropriates $217 billion for the next two years. This budget provides an additional $508 million for CPS to address the shortfall in case workers as well as support for kinship care. The budget also provides $300 million for new construction and increased capacity of state mental health hospitals and provides funding to eliminate waiting lists for mental health services. In an effort to help keep insurance premiums down for retired teachers, the State allocated $350 million towards TRS-Care. Additional money was also set aside for state education funds and for maintenance of state schools and hospitals. In addition, transportation was well-funded thanks to the voters who made it a top priority. Rep. Springer also added an amendment onto the budget that would close a local loophole and prevent any and all taxpayer dollars from being used to fund facilities that provide abortion services, such as Planned Parenthood.
This Session, the Texas Legislature also addressed several key pro-life measures including SB 8, a bill aimed at stopping dismemberment abortions, as well as HB 2962 that would require abortion complications to be reported, a bill that Rep. Springer proudly joint-authored. The representative worked diligently to ensure that Second Amendment rights were defended with a vote to massively cut the License to Carry (LTC) permit fee down to $8 a year, just enough to cover the State's costs, as well as the removal of the caliber requirement for LTC testing, a bill authored by Rep. Springer. Additional legislation was passed to allow access to adult stem cell treatment here in Texas that shows great promise for those with MS, Parkinson's Disease, spinal cord injuries, and other severe illnesses, as well as to address the issue of improper student-teacher relationships commonly referred to as "passing the trash" which has plagued HD 68 for several years.
Rep. Springer, also passed HB 1643 to protect the Texas cattle industry from environmental terrorists and to prevent animal rights activists from harming feed yard operations. In addition, he is proud of the work that the House did in removing the penalty on small rural schools, however, unfortunately, the Senate failed to agree and a school finance reform bill was unable to pass.
Rep. Springer when reflecting on the Session stated, "I am proud of the work that we have done in the 85th Session. We have managed to tackle major state issues such as CPS reform, improve our mental health system, and enhance voter integrity all while not raising taxes. We still have a lot of work to do as far as school finance and property taxes, but overall I am pleased with the outcome!"
Rep. Springer encourages any constituents of HD 68 with questions or concerns about state-related matters, to contact him directly at District68.Springer@house.texas.gov.