Legislative Accomplishments: Back the Blue Legislation and Prioritizing Our Children & Retired Teachers

June 23, 2021

This is my eighth installment on accomplishments in the recent Texas legislative session that adjourned May 31st.  Much good work has been overlooked.  However, there was also much left undone.  So, when I finish this series, I’ll layout some things I believe the Texas Legislature must accomplish in the special sessions coming later this summer and early fall.

 Back the Blue Legislation 

The year we passed several priority items to support law enforcement.  Passing proactive measures is always a win but sometimes what is even more meaningful (that goes unnoticed) is defeating harmful proposed new legislation.  The anti-law enforcement agenda filed by the Democrats this session was very strong.  As a former police officer, I spent a lot of time just trying to fix (or more often kill) those proposed anti-law enforcement bills.  Fortunately, we were able to stop a lot of bad legislation from passing. 

HB 9, HB 1900, HB 2366 and SB 23 were all passed to prevent large cities and counties from their efforts to defund the police.  We also needed these bills to deal with violent protests which have been so prevalent.

HB 9 – Enhances the criminal penalty to a state jail felony offense for anyone who knowingly blocks an emergency vehicle or obstructs access to a hospital or health care facility.

HB 2366 – Enhances criminal penalties for the use of laser pointers and creates an offense for the use of fireworks to harm or obstruct the police.

HB 1900 – Freezes property tax revenues for cities with population over 250,000 that defund the police and allows the state to withhold sales tax collections. Those withheld funds will be given to DPS to fund the use of state resources to protect residents of a defunded municipality. 

SB 23 – Requires voter approval to reduce law enforcement budgets in counties with a population of more than one million.  If voter approval is not received, but the county still defunds the police, the county’s property tax revenue will be frozen.  

Prioritizing Our Children and Retired Teachers 

In the 2019 legislative session, Texas made a huge commitment to better fund our schools and teachers.  Knowing that the state’s budget would be leaner this year, making sure we fulfilled that 2019 financial commitment to education was a top priority.  This one pager highlights some of the success this session in supporting our kids education, which included maintaining our financial commitment to both the children, teachers and our retired teachers.  Additionally, as I discussed in a prior email, our new legislative initiatives focusing on a robust broadband infrastructure will also help us improve remote learning and innovation in educating outside the classroom.     

I’ll continue this series with another installment in just a few days.