House Budget Passes!

April 3, 2015

The most critical item the Legislature must pass each session is the State’s budget. I’m proud to report to you that the House passed our proposed budget for 2016-17 earlier this week. In addition, we had a full week of committee meetings and constituent visits before the Easter weekend.

House Budget

After nearly 18 hours of debate (we finished at 5:40am!) the House passed our proposed budget for 2016-17 by a vote of 141-5. This vote total represents great consensus for such an important item. I believe that the budget we are sending over to the Senate is conservative while still meeting the core needs of our state.

I’m especially pleased that border security is being funded at historic levels, funding for public education is increased by $3 billion, and that this budget keeps us under the spending cap.

One key point to note regarding the House budget is that there is room left for significant tax relief. I expect that $4.5-4.8 billion will be dedicated towards tax relief before the 84th Legislative Session comes to a close. Still to be determined is whether this relief will come in the form of a sales, business, property tax cut, or a combination of the three. I know that discussions are happening daily between House and Senate members as well as Governor Abbott’s office. Tax relief is a top priority this session, and I intend to do everything I can do ensure Texans receive real benefit from the cuts.

You can read more about the proposed House budget here.

House Budget 1
House Budget 2

Update on Legislation

This week I had two important pieces of legislation voted out of the State & Federal Power & Responsibility Committee. I serve as chairman of this committee and am pleased thus far with the work we are doing to examine how to strengthen Texas and push back against our dysfunctional federal government.

House Bill 1110 simply adds structure to the process of how Texas would participate in an Article V convention if one were ever called. Article V has been a much-discussed topic at the Capitol this session as well as among grassroots activists across the state. Both supporters and opponents of using Article V have concerns about what has been called a “runaway convention.” HB 1110 seeks to address those concerns.

HCR 54 seeks to restore constitutional balance by providing that whenever one quarter of the members of either the U.S. House or U.S. Senate send the president a written declaration of opposition to a proposed federal regulation, the regulation would require a majority vote from both chambers in order to be adopted. It would also restore much needed balance in the regulatory process. It is all too common to see unelected federal bureaucrats enact regulations that should have had prior congressional approval. Furthermore, states have little recourse today when federal agencies overstep their constitutional authority other than lawsuits. The main avenue to challenge whether a regulation is constitutional is federal court as the law stands today. HCR 54 gives the people a voice through our elected representatives to challenge overreaching federal regulations.

Capitol Visits

Easter Hunt 4

Governor and Mrs. Abbott hosted an Easter Egg Hunt at the Governor’s Mansion on Thursday. After a long week, Terry and I were so happy to spend time with our daughter Hannah, and grandchildren, Peyton and Molly. It was a very relaxing way to end the week and the Abbott’s were extremely gracious hosts.


Touring the House floor with the Harmer family

Spring Capitol

Springtime at the Capitol