Op-Ed: King Reflects on 83rd Legislative Session

May 27, 2013

State Representative Phil King

Today marks the final day of the 83rd Texas Legislative Session. While it is likely we will be called back by the Governor into a special legislative session in the very near future to address redistricting, I wanted to share with you some of what was accomplished this session.

The following are just a few of the bills that I supported and/or sponsored, which I believe will keep Texas the best place in the country to raise a family and do business:

  • Small business tax relief: HB 500 is a bill that offers over $700 million in business tax relief and makes permanent the $1 million small business tax exemption.
  • Water: We passed two significant bills related to water. HB 4 puts in place a $2 billion water infrastructure bank, which will provide more than $27 billion in long-term funding for small communities like those in Parker and Wise counties to improve and enhance their water systems, ensuring the water needs of Texas are met for generations to come. HB 2767 is a bill I authored that removes the barriers to recycling produced water and frack water in the production of oil and gas.
  • Drug testing for recipients of unemployment benefits: SB 21 takes a critical step toward decreasing fraud and ensuring the taxpayers of Texas are not subsidizing addictions of benefit recipients.
  • TRS reform: The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), one of the largest pension funds in the nation, has had over $26 billion in unfunded liabilities and could not fully cover promised benefits to teachers and educators. TRS will now be actuarially sound moving forward, because of SB 1458, a reform bill that will ensure it will be there to provide for teachers for decades to come.
  • Public education high stakes testing reform: HB 5 is a bill that will reduce the number of end-of-course assessments from 15 to 5. The bill also eliminates intrusive state mandates on our schools and provides flexibility for students to develop their individual talents and pursue their interests.
  • Eminent domain: I was the sponsor of SB 655, which will protect Texas landowners by clarifying and strengthening existing law related to eminent domain in Texas to prevent certain entities from exercising that authority for improper purposes.

Some of the issues I believe the legislature must still address are: protecting human life through more stringent abortion laws; adequate transportation funding to ensure Texas remains the premier state in which to do business; greater education reform that will allow parents and school districts the flexibility to teach children the way they see fit, as opposed to bureaucrats in Austin; and legislation to enhance and expand our 2nd Amendment rights to keep and bear arms. I pledge to you that I will continue to work hard to see these issues addressed.

It has been an honor to serve the people of House District 61 during this legislative session. I look forward to continuing to work hard to limit the size of government to ensure that Texans have as much room as possible to prosper and enjoy their lives.