Author Archive

100 Pro-Life Scorecard Rating, Parker County I-20/Center Point Road Project, Hurricane Harvey Update

September 30, 2017

Texas Right to Life Pro-Life Scorecard

This week Texas Right to Life announced their pro-life scorecard to inform Texans on where legislators stand on various life issues. I am proud to have received a 100.

We passed several additional pro-life matters during the 85th session including the dismemberment abortion ban, patient consent for DNR orders and pro-life health insurance reforms.

Parker County I-20/Center Point Road Interchange Construction Starting in October

The $30 million Interstate 20/Center Point Road Interchange project is a collaborative effort between Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the City of Hudson Oaks and Parker County. Construction on the project is to begin in this October. Below is a one pager with information on the project. My office will remain informed on the project timeline and impact to our community as we move forward.

Hurricane Harvey Response

Now that Texas is through the immediate emergency response stage for Hurricane Harvey, we are assessing the huge toll on the Gulf Coast of Texas. This disaster has not only impacted the coast but the entire state and nation. Rough estimates put the devastation at $190 billion – losses to individual Texans, Texas businesses, and Texas communities.

Governor Abbott has named 60 Texas counties in the disaster declaration. This encompasses 42% of the state’s population and 42% of the market value of property in the state and 58% of the state’s industrial property. Over 300 school campuses sustained damage with 52 remaining closed.

We have a very long journey ahead as a state. Part of chairing the Homeland Security and Public Safety committee in the Texas House is overseeing Texas Division of Emergency Management. During the interim my Committee will be meeting to discuss what we have learned after responding to Harvey and making sure we have the best practices in place when coordinating between the municipalities, state agencies and counties during a natural disaster.

Preserving Texas’ Voter ID Law

August 25, 2017

Since passage in 2011, Texas’ Voter ID Law has been under continual attack in federal courts.

In an effort to preserve a Voter ID law in Texas elections, earlier this year Senator Joan Huffman and I authored SB 5. This legislation was skillfully constructed to ensure that every eligible Texan who wishes to vote can do so.

Under SB 5 as signed into law, every individual whose circumstances the court found of concern will be able to cast a regular ballot in the ballot box.

Unfortunately, yesterday U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi ruled again against Texas’ voter ID law by granting a permanent injunction. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will immediately appeal this ruling.

I am confident that our Voter ID law will be upheld and that Texas will preserve this integral tool to maintain election integrity in our state.

The Real Way To Reduce Your Property Taxes

August 25, 2017

I’m disappointed that a handful of people successfully blocked passage of property tax reform this summer. However, the greatest frustration to me was that the proposed legislation–had it even passed–would have provided little true relief in Parker and Wise counties.

The real solution is legislation I carried in the House at Governor Abbott’s request. Originally filed as SB 16 and HB 191, it was successfully rolled in to HB 21 last week. The legislation creates the Texas Commission on Public School Finance.

From 50% to as much as 70% of your property tax bill is for public schools. In many districts much of the locally collected school taxes don’t even stay at home but are sent off by a court ordered Robinhood school finance plan. Bottom line, our public schools desperately need an adequate and sustainable funding source and our property owners desperately need relief from school property taxes.

Texas needs a method of school finance that is reflective of our current economy, not the 1940’s economy that designed today’s system. Designing that system will be the job of the new 13 person Commission comprised of legislators, business and civic leaders, tax and education experts. Their goal is to provide recommendations to the Legislature for new funding model that supports an efficient and equitable school finance system.

Texas schools and Texas taxpayers need solutions for overhauling our antiquated system. Here is a message from Governor Greg Abbott on the importance of the Texas Commission on Public School Finance.

New Protection Against Forced Annexation

August 23, 2017

Friends,

Last week the Legislative Special Session concluded. We passed some very important measures that are great for Texas. One bill, SB 6, will better protect property owners from involuntary annexation of their homesteads and other property.

When this annexation bill came to the House floor for vote it only restricted cities with a population of 500,000 or more! It required three runs at amending the bill, but I was eventually able to add an amendment to allow counties such as Parker and Wise to come under the new property owner protections.

It is important for these landowner protections to be afforded to all Texans and not just those in large urban areas. Here is a summary of the new law which will go into effect December 1.

PROPERTY OWNER PROTECTION

  • Current Texas law authorizes a home rule city (most Texas cities with a population over 5,000) to annex surrounding areas without a property owner’s consent, subjecting the people whose land is annexed to the regulations, ordinances, taxation, and fees of the municipality annexing the land.
  • General law cities (those cities under 5,000 in population) typically must receive consent from landowners prior to annexing.
  • Beginning December 1, 2017, Texas law will require approval of landowners in unincorporated areas before they can be annexed. This restriction initially applies to home rule cities of 500,000 or more in population.
  • However, in addition, all Texas property owners will have the right to petition their county to hold an election to opt-in to the new law and prohibit involuntary annexation. If approved by this local election, the new restrictions against involuntary annexation will apply to all home rule cities within counties where the opt-in election prevails.
  • You can read the amended bill in its entirety HERE.

Special Session Update: Property Tax Relief and School Finance Reform

July 5, 2017

Legislation to Create School Finance Commission

Governor Greg Abbott has asked me to author legislation that will create the Texas Commission on Public School Finance which will begin to rebuild our outdated school finance system. This is one of the twenty priority items previously announced by Governor Abbott on the special session agenda that convenes July 18. My hope is to provide property tax relief while adequately funding education.

“The school finance system in Texas is broken,” said Governor Abbott. “That is why I have called for legislation to create a commission that will work throughout the interim on solutions to our failed Robin Hood program and craft serious reforms for our obsolete school finance system. I am grateful to Sen. Taylor and Rep. King for understanding the importance of this issue and applaud their efforts to begin to fix it.”

While there have been many laudable attempts to address our broken school finance system, we’ve yet to reach consensus in the Legislature and enact real, substantive solutions into law. The problem is simply too complex, which is why we need a state commission–with representatives of the Governor and legislative leadership–to thoroughly study the issues, seek input from a wide array of stakeholders, and build consensus over the interim.

Happy Independence Day!

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July with family and friends. Terry and I attended the Boomin’ 4th Fireworks Show with several of our kids and grandkids.

State Representative Phil King represents Parker and Wise counties in the Texas House of Representatives.

Special Session Update

June 12, 2017

SPECIAL SESSION BEGINNING JULY 18

Abbott announced last week that the Legislature will be reconvened in a special session beginning July 18th. Unlike “regular” sessions which last 140 days and convene each odd number year, “special” sessions are called in 30 day increments. And unlike regular sessions, only topics put on the “call” by the governor may be considered.

Governor Abbott has placed 20 items on the special session call. I am delighted about a number of these topics which include:

  1. Reauthorization of the Texas Medical Board
  2. Teacher pay increase of $1,000
  3. Administrative flexibility in teacher hiring and retention practices
  4. School finance reform commission
  5. School choice for special needs students
  6. Property tax reform
  7. Caps on state and local spending
  8. Preventing cities from regulating what property owners do with trees on private land
  9. Preventing local governments from changing rules midway through construction projects
  10. Speeding up local government permitting process
  11. Municipal annexation reform
  12. Texting while driving preemption
  13. Privacy/Bathroom bill
  14. Prohibition of taxpayer dollars to collect union dues
  15. Prohibition of taxpayer funding for abortion providers
  16. Pro-life insurance reform
  17. Strengthening abortion reporting requirements when health complications arise
  18. Strengthening patient protections relating to do-not-resuscitate orders
  19. Cracking down on mail-in ballot fraud
  20. Extending maternal mortality task force

To watch Governor Abbott full press announcement on special session, click HERE.

NEW TASK FORCE CHAIR

As many of you know, I serve on the national board of directors for the American Legislative Exchange Council. At our annual meeting next month, we will officially launch a new Homeland Security Task Force. I will be serving as the public sector chair. I am looking forward to serving in this capacity as it compliments my background in law enforcement and my service in the Texas House as chairman of the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee.

OTHER (and the most important) NEWS

Terry and I are pleased to announce that our 13th grandchild was born on May 20th. Jack Wayne Haye was born at 2:00 pm weighing in at 9lb 3oz, 21 inches long and bearing a full head of hair.

Legislative Session Nearing the End

May 22, 2017

Tomorrow is the final day for the House to pass Senate bills. After that, the remainder of the session is focused on rectifying differences on bills that did not pass in identical form in each chamber. This last week has been crunch time with very long hours and we have passed some of the most important legislation of session.

Property Tax Empowerment Act of 2017

On Saturday, we passed legislation that would empower voters to have a say on local property tax increases by strengthening the oversight and visibility on how tax local property tax rates are adopted.

It would also strengthen the right of those taxpayers who take part in the appraisal protest by:

  • Ensuring taxpayer value will not be increased because the taxpayer files a protest.
  • Ensuring taxpayers receive any evidence the appraisal district will use at a hearing.
  • Requiring more training for Appraisal Review Board members on the protest process.
  • Making it easier for taxpayers to provide feedback on their protest experience to the Comptroller.

Creates a “real-time” tax notice for property owners that tells them:

  • Current appraised and taxable value of their property.
  • The tax due on that property at each jurisdiction’s “no new revenue” tax rate.
  • The tax due on their property at the rate each jurisdiction proposes to adopt.
  • How their tax bill at the proposed rates for each jurisdiction compares to their tax bill at the “no new revenue” rates.
  • The date and location of the public meeting at which each jurisdiction proposes to adopt its tax rate.

Additionally it will:

  • Requires taxing units to maintain Internet websites that provide basic information about their budgets, tax rates, and public hearings so that property owners can be involved in the policy decisions that impact their communities and their taxes.
  • Creates special Appraisal Review Board panels of experienced individuals to hear appeals of certain types of complex properties valued at more than $50 million. This will save property owners and appraisal districts money by more readily resolving cases that might otherwise go to district court.
  • The “effective tax rate” is renamed to what it is—the “no new revenue” rate. Any tax rate above that is one that raises new revenue for the jurisdiction, excluding any property that has not been taxed before. Jurisdictions will have to use Comptroller-prescribed forms to calculate their baseline tax rates. The numbers and calculations on those forms will be subject to verification and those forms will be made public.

This legislation will empower taxpayers in two very important ways. First, it brings transparency to the tax rate setting process, giving taxpayers the tools and information they need so they can engage local officials who set tax rates. Second, for those taxpayers who take part in the protest process, the bill strengthens their rights by making the process fair, accountable and transparent.

I would like to see this legislation go even further to provide meaningful tax relief to my constituents in Parker and Wise counties. Because this legislation passed in different form in each chamber, it is possible that additional improvements could still be made. I will support any additional measures that provide tax relief and reform to our current system.

SB 8 – Partial-Birth and Dismemberment Abortion Ban

SB 8 bans partial-birth abortions and prohibits the sale of fetal tissue and organs. This will provide a necessary enforcement mechanism for Texas to prosecute those who perform partial-birth abortions. This legislation also prohibits abortion by method of dismemberment and provides for proper disposition of fetal remains.

SB 12 – Protective Vests of Law Enforcement

SB 12 that I authored creates a grant program to assist law enforcement agencies with the purchase of bulletproof vests and body armor. During National Police Week, we passed this legislation that would grant funds to provide for 50,000 bulletproof vests, ballistic plates, and plate carriers for our law enforcement.

SB 11 – Community Based Foster Care
(This is another bill is a series of several CPS/Foster Care System reform bills passed by the legislature this session)

  • Expands the community-based foster care system- in which a single source continuum contractor (SSCC) manages foster care for a particular region of the state – to two additional regions and adds ability to transfer foster care case management from the Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) to the SSCC.
  • Establishes a “readiness review” of contractors and adds a process to evaluate contractor performance.
  • Creates a quality assurance division within DFPS to monitor contract compliance and quality.
  • Creates a legislative oversight committee for DFPS similar to TLOC.
  • Includes provisions to improve delivery of medical services to foster children through new requirements for timely medical examinations.
  • Creates additional requirements on prevention services and increases tracking and evaluation of child fatality data.
  • Requires DFPS to conduct assessment of state foster care needs and develop recommendations on increasing foster care capacity throughout the state.
  • Updates statutes to ensure that foster parents who work less than 40-hours a week can access day care services. Also directs streamlining of foster home licensing regulations.

Update from the Legislature

May 16, 2017

Freedom To Serve Children Act

The state of Texas is facing a critical shortage of foster homes. In 2016 over 200 kids spent nights in offices, hotels or hospitals because there are not enough foster homes in which to place them. With limited capacity, children in foster care suffer from placements that are poorly matched to their needs, backgrounds or culture, or in placements far away from their homes and schools. HB 3859, which passed the Texas House this week, seeks to build and sustain a diverse network of high-quality child welfare providers. It accomplished this task by protecting faith-based child welfare service providers from discrimination or adverse actions for exercising their deeply held religious beliefs, while ensuring that child welfare services are available to everyone.

TRS-Care

Without legislative changes and additional funding to the TRS-Care program, the estimated $1.06 billion shortfall would be fully borne by our retired teachers. The Texas House took decisive action in order to continue to provide meaningful coverage to our retired teachers by passing HB 3976.

American Laws For American Courts

The Texas House passed HB 45 which mandates that a ruling or decision of a state court, arbitrator, or administrative law judge may not be based on a foreign law, if the application of that law would violate a right guaranteed by the Texas or federal Constitution. HB 45 provides necessary reform by clarifying and enforcing the rule of law which says that state courts may not enforce foreign laws or practices that violate the public policy of the State of Texas or violate the U.S. Constitution.

Public School Accountability

The Texas House voted to address a concern that we consistently hear from parents and educators: excessive testing. HB 22 will reduce the number of STAAR tests required in schools and make key reforms to our testing program and schedule.

Team Meeting on Article V Convention of States prior to House Floor Debate

Update From This Week In The Texas Legislature

May 5, 2017

Removing Impediments To Your Right To Bear Arms

This week, the Texas House of Representatives passed very important legislation removing impediments to your right to bear arms. SB 16, a bill I carried in the House, drastically reduced the state fee for a License to Carry (LTC). I had discovered that Texas had the 3rd highest fee in the nation with a $140 application fee and $70 renewal fee. As passed, the application and renewal fee would be set at $40, or $8 per year, the approximate cost to the state for managing the criminal history check and licensing process.

To read more about this legislation, CLICK HERE.

HB 3784 will allow the classroom portion of the LTC instruction and the written test to be taken online. In addition to passing the written portion, HB 3784 requires at least 1 hour of live range training with a certified instructor. This bill will give citizens another option and eases access to the written portion of the exam while providing beneficial handgun training on the firing range.

Governor Abbott Signs HB 89, Anti-BDS Legislation Into Law

I have been working on this legislation for over a year and am delighted that it is the first bill signed into law this session of the Texas Legislature. Governor Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 89, known as Anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestments, and Sanctions) bill, which prohibits all government agencies from contracting with, and certain public fund from investing in, companies that discriminate against Israel. The signing was hosted at the Shalom Austin Jewish Community Center on May 2, which also marks Israel’s Independence Day.

Texas now has the strongest Anti-BDS law in the nation. As our 4th largest trading partner, friend and ally, this bill’s passage reaffirms that Texas stands with Israel.

The official signed bill and pen used by Governor Abbott which I will be delivering to Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Convention Of States Legislation

Today, SB 21 was passed out of the Texas House. This important legislation was added as an emergency item by Governor Abbott.As many of us would agree, the federal system of government that must respect and defer to the inherent rights of the states is broken. Washington is spending beyond the means of its citizens, seizing power from the states, and taking liberty from the very people to whom it is accountable.

Also passed today on the emergency calendar was SJR 2 – which is the resolution that actually calls for the Article V convention of states.

Alongside SJR 2, which is the formal application to Congress for a convention of states, SB 21 provides structural guidelines and procedures by which Texas delegates would be chosen and how those delegates would operate if a convention of states were called.

This bill is particularly critical for Texas as we have no current standards under which to act in the event of a convention of states actually being convened.

Texas Ranks #9 in Economic Outlook, Money for Public Schools and Protective Vests for Law Enforcement

April 20, 2017

Texas Ranks #9 in Economic Outlook

In the 10th edition of Rich States, Poor States that was published this week, Texas is ranked #9 in Economic Outlook in the country. That’s the best ranking for Texas in the decade of this report being published – and an improvement of 10 spots. (from 19th in 2010).

Check out this interactive website that navigates the 10 years of Rich States, Poor States data and details Texas’ ranking.

http://www.richstatespoorstates.org/states/TX/

SB 12 – Protective Vests for Law Enforcement – Heads to House Floor

Tuesday, my committee laid out and voted on SB 12, legislation that creates a grant program that will equip law enforcement across Texas with protective vests. This legislation will allow law enforcement agencies to apply for a grant that can be used to purchase protective vests. I am proud to be the House author of this legislation and bring it before the full house. It was voted out unanimously from committee.

https://www.texastribune.org/2017/04/18/police-bulletproof-vests-bill-moves-closer-governors-desk/

Funding For Public Schools

Yesterday we passed on the house floor HB 21, a school finance bill that increased funding for Texas public schools. Below is a one pager on the legislation. This legislation is a step in the right direction for much needed school finance reform.

Visit with Weatherford Student Who Served as House Page