Author Archive

Budget Update!

April 5, 2017

Appropriations Update

The approved budget and supplemental budget are up for consideration before the full House of Representatives this Thursday, April 6th. Over 400 amendments were pre-filed and will be debated. We expect to be on the floor until the early hours on Friday – possibly working through amendments and amendments to the amendment for over 18 consecutive hours. For every amendment that someone puts on the budget, it will take money from somewhere/someone else. We have a “put and take” rule. This means if you try to appropriate more money or additional funding, you have to cut from somewhere else in the budget.

Please pray for members to be alert, to have wisdom and to be courteous as we deliberate very serious issues that effect all Texans.

Summary of House Budget

The House has exercised leadership in crafting a conservative, responsible budget that spends $106.8 billion in available revenue. Despite revenue challenges, and very significant population and inflation growth, the House biennium budget is $1 billion less than the current budget.

Despite the very real budget cuts, the House budget still makes significant investments in critical priorities. Our proposal includes nearly $1.5 billion in new money for public education. We are addressing the foster care crisis in Texas by investing $433 million of additional funds to child protective services. In addition, the House is dedicating $62.6 million in new funds to eliminate waiting lists for community mental health services across the state and maintains our commitment to border security funding. The house budget also proposes fully funding health care for retired teachers.

The House budget is fully transparent and protects the state’s investment in transportation while maintaining our long-standing commitment to using dedicated funds for their rightful purpose.

After the budget passes this week, it will then go to conference committee where members serving on that committee will debate the nuances between the House and Senate version of the budget for a final 2018-19 appropriations to be approved by Governor Abbott.

For a more detailed look at the budget, click here.

Visitors to Texas Capitol

Israeli Defense Force Reserve Members Traveling the US to speak on college campuses to educate young leaders about true nature of the conflict and attacks on Israel

Wise County retired teachers

Swearing in Bob Glenn, EVP of PlainsCapital Bank in Weatherford to Gubernatorial Appointment on Texas House Floor.

Legislative Highlights and Rainy Day Fund

March 29, 2017


Firearms – Yesterday, my committee heard two constitutional carry bills that allow the unlicensed carry of a holstered handgun where licenses are now required. We had over 300 attend to testify. Those who registered a position were almost equally distributed “for” and “against”. The hearing began at 8 am and concluded at about 9 pm. As you might imagine, there are very strong opinions on both sides of this issue.

Transgender Bathroom Legislation – I have received many, many calls, emails and Facebook messages about the “bathroom bill.” Bottom line, I don’t want any male going into the restroom with my wife, daughters or granddaughters. Period. Although this hasn’t occurred in Parker or Wise county schools, it is particularly offensive that a public school would intermix males and females in locker rooms and restrooms. I will vote “for” legislation that prohibits this in public schools and government buildings.

Voter ID – The voter ID bill, SB 5, passed the Senate this week. This will ensure integrity at the ballot box and comply with recent court rulings. I am the House sponsor of this bill and expect a hearing soon. The courts have struck down previous versions passed by the Texas Legislature.

License to Carry Fee, CSHB 300 – I am the House sponsor of this bill which is intended to lessen the burden on individuals who wish to obtain a license to carry a handgun. The bill passed out of my committee, Homeland Security and Public Safety, yesterday. It will decrease the application fee from $140 (3rd highest in the nation) and the renewal fee of $70 each to $40 (which is the actual cost to the state).

Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, CSHB 200 – House Bill 200 bans partial-birth abortions and prohibits the sale of fetal tissues and organs. While partial-birth abortions are banned by federal law, state prosecutors cannot enforce federal law; this provides an enforcement mechanism for Texas to prosecute those who perform partial-birth abortions. House Bill 200 establishes a statewide ban on the sale of fetal tissue.

Anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanction, CSHB 89 – I am the House sponsor of this legislation. It prohibits the local and state government from investing public funds in companies that boycott Israel and from contracting with companies that boycott Israel. The bill passed out of the State Affairs committee today with no opposition.

Sudan, Iran, House Bill 1142 – This legislation strengthens existing state sanctions against Sudan, Iran and foreign terrorist organizations. It updates state contract law to prohibit government entities from contracting with companies engaged in active business operations with Sudan, Iran or a foreign terrorist organization. Aligns government entity contracting laws to protect American values.

Sanctuary Cities, SB 4Last week the House Committee on State Affairs heard SB 4 which would outlaw sanctuary cities. A “sanctuary” city is the common term for local governments that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities in the enforcement of immigration law. Over 600 witnesses signed up to testify with the hearing going until after midnight. Banning sanctuary cities is on the list of emergency items by declared by Governor Greg Abbott and we expect this legislation to be signed into law sometime in May.


One thing you’re sure to hear about during the remainder of the 85th Session is the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF), commonly known as our “Rainy Day Fund.” I thought it might be helpful to provide a little background information about the ESF leading up to these conversations.

The ESF was first established in the late 1980s as a result of the economic crisis in Texas caused in large part by a sharp decline in the oil industry. Facing a severe cash deficit, Texas voters approved an amendment to the Texas Constitution to create the ESF, effectively a savings account for the State of Texas. The goal of this fund was to save money for the future in case Texas ever faced another cash shortfall. The ESF is funded by Oil Production and Natural Gas Production tax revenues, one-half of any unencumbered General Revenue surplus (a revenue surplus that does not have any claims against it) at the end of each biennium, and interest earned on the ESF balance.

Today, 46 states have some version of an ESF, but since everything is bigger in the Lone Star State, Texas holds the largest. Our ESF balance for Fiscal Year 2016 is approximately $9.7 billion, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. So, what does that mean for the 85th Legislature?

Well, proposals have been floated that would spend some money from the ESF. Though not unprecedented, it is something that has not been done since 2005. Unlike bills that require a simple majority (50 percent plus one) to pass, expenditures from the ESF require a higher threshold: either a three-fifths vote of members present in both chambers in some circumstances or a two-thirds vote of members present in others. Either way, it is a difficult (though not impossible) threshold to clear.

Be looking for what will be strenuous discussion of the ESF as we begin the budget debate next week on the House floor.

Ethics Reform, School Finance Update and Ban on Sanctuary Cities

March 18, 2017

Ethics Reform Legislation

Our republican form of government is founded on the principle that public servants represent the interests of their constituents, serving as their voice in government. To that end, the Texas House has laid out an impressive ethics reform package to advance public trust in our elected bodies.

For more information about each bill in the House legislative package, click the following links: HB 500, HB 501, HB 502, HB 503, HB 504 and HB 505.
School Finance Update

Last week the House Committee on Public Education began hearings on HB 21. Although the Texas Supreme Court ruled last year that our school finance system is constitutional, structural flaws remain in the system. The House is committed to serious improvements in school finance. It is a very complicated issue but I am encouraged to see serious discussion and time spent on improving the system for both our students and taxpayers. This proposed legislation would provide an additional $1.6 billion for our public schools, providing more per-pupil funding for 95 percent of school districts. It would also begin to fix the flaws that make the current system inequitable by distributing education dollars more appropriately across the state.Money alone is not the solution to the struggles faced in public education. But HB 21 is a strong step toward reforming school funding. There is still a very long way to go in the process but I am hopeful we will soon make substantive progress for our 5 million Texas students.

Sanctuary Cities

This week the House Committee on State Affairs heard SB 4 which would outlaw sanctuary cities. A “sanctuary” city is the common term for local governments that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities in the enforcement of immigration law. Over 600 witnesses signed up to testify with the hearing going until after midnight. Banning sanctuary cities is on the list of emergency items declared by Governor Greg Abbott and we expect this legislation to be signed into law sometime in May.

Filing Deadline, Flat Stanley and Committee Hearings

March 12, 2017

Filing Deadline Today! Marks the 60th Day of Session

Today marks the 60th day of the 85th session which is also is the last day to file all non-emergency bills. For the next 30 days of the regular legislative session, the committees of each chamber will be holding hearings to consider all bills, resolutions and other undecided matters. Last session a total of 11,356 bills were filed (including both House and Senate). Our pace at the 45 day mark of the 85th session had increased by roughly 16 percent. If the pace keeps up, we expect to have over 13,000 bills filed this session.

House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety

The House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety, which I chair, met Tuesday morning to hear the first bills scheduled for a public hearing. We heard several bills that exempt volunteers at churches who provide security services from having to meet stringent licensing requirements. Currently, if a place of worship has volunteers who organize together for security patrol, they are required by law to become a licensed private security company. Next week we will be hearing several bills regarding subjects ranging from carrying of a weapon by first responders, driver license issues and criminal history records. I expect my committee to receive close to 200 bill referrals.

Flat Stanley Makes A Visit

The capitol was graced by a celebrity amongst elementary school circles. My granddaughter’s Flat Stanley joined us for a week under the dome full of important meetings with Speaker Straus, Attorney General Paxton, and Comptroller Hegar to name a few! He strolled the capitol lawn to smell the roses and even got to sit at Representative King’s desk.

Spring Break

Terry and I wish everyone a great and relaxing Spring Break. If you are driving through Austin, please come stop by the office in the Capitol and say hello. We always enjoy visitors from the district.

Emergency CPS/Foster Care Legislation and Voter ID

March 3, 2017

HB 4 & HB 5 – Emergency CPS/Foster Care Legislation Passes the Texas House

Without a single no vote cast, HB 4 and HB 5 passed the Texas House this week. The bills will now be considered by the Texas Senate. This legislation will implement critically needed reforms of our CPS and foster care systems.

HB 2481 – Legislation to Preserve Texas Voter ID

On Monday, I filed HB 2481 to preserve Texas’ Voter ID law by providing a declaration for voters who do not and cannot reasonably obtain acceptable photo identification. These updates are necessary to comply with the 5th Circuit ruling while ensuring the integrity of our voting process. If passed, HB 2481 would do the following:

  • Allowing voters to cast a ballot if they have an approved secondary form of identification and execute a declaration indicating they are who they say they are and do not have and cannot reasonably obtain approved photo identification for one of several specified reasons.
  • Allowing voters to use otherwise acceptable photo identification that is more than 60 days expired if they execute a declaration stating that they cannot obtain a new form of photo identification for one of the several specified reasons.
  • Establishing a criminal penalty for knowingly making a false statement on the declaration as up to a third-degree felony.
  • Allowing voters over age 70 to cast a ballot using expired, but otherwise acceptable, photo identification.
  • Requiring the Secretary of State to establish a mobile program for issuing election identification certificates.

Weatherford Chamber Legislative Visit

This week we welcomed the Weatherford Chamber delegation to their state capitol for a legislative visit to Austin. We passed HR 391 recognizing February 27 2017, as Weatherford Day at the State Capitol.

CPS and Foster Care System Reform Legislation, East Parker County Chamber Day and Constituent Meetings

February 19, 2017

CPS and Foster Care System Reform

The House is making child protection the top priority of the 85th Legislation Session through funding and comprehensive reform of the system. I am fully committed to taking the necessary steps to protect children in Texas. The proposed House budget will allocate additional funding to improve salaries and hire more caseworkers. HB 4, HB 5, and HB 6 have been filed and if passed, will implement reforms that will strengthen kinship care placements, reorganize DFPS into a stand-alone agency, and allow for a transition to a community-based foster care system.

These changes are designed to drastically overhaul a failing system, and to provide the children of Texas with the protection and care that they deserve.

I support these legislative efforts that will reform the system to provide better protection for children and more efficiency in the use of taxpayer dollars. If passed, this legislation will help provide faster intervention for children in danger and increase the number of loving and stable foster homes available to them.

Constituent Meetings
We had many constituents from the district visit Austin this week to share their legislative priorities. I sat down with Northwest ISD Superintendent Dr. Ryder Warren and Jack Teddlie with the Texas Retired Teachers Association. Janet Minke, a constituent with the Texas Land & Title Association stopped by, and I shared a very pleasant visit with Pastor Franz Schemmel of Messiah Lutheran Church. Michelle Slonaker with the Chico Public Library was kind enough to make the drive south to talk with me about improving broadband access for rural libraries, and a family from Parker County visited the Capitol to spread awareness about their pitbull rescue.

East Parker County Chamber Legislative Day

Thank you to all of those that made the long drive to Austin to attend East Parker County Legislative Day! I passed HR 392 to honor the Chamber and welcome them to the Texas Capitol. We had a great time discussing legislative priorities and touring the capitol.

Committee Appointments, Stand With Israel Day, Meeting with Gov. Abbott

February 11, 2017

Committee Appointments, Stand With Israel Day, Meeting With Governor Abbott

This week the House members received committee appointments for the 85th session and interim. I am honored to serve as the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety and continue to serve on the Energy Resources Committee. Committees will be up and running soon and I look forward to addressing the many issues Texas faces.

If you would like to see the full list of committee assignments:

This was a very busy week for us at the Capitol. Among the many meetings and briefings, my office hosted a Citizens Advocacy Day in support of Israel and my anti-BDS bill, House Bill 89. Hundreds of citizens came to walk the capitol to meet their representatives and senators asking for support of HB 89. We also met with Governor Greg Abbott who conveyed his strong support for Israel and of his commitment to the passage of House Bill 89.

Also this week, leaders and students from Wise County 4H Club dropped by. And I enjoyed a meeting with Parker County’s John Thomas who is a gubernatorial appointee to the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities.

85th Session Begins – Weekly Legislative Update

January 28, 2017

85th Session Begins & Swearing In Ceremony

January 10th kicked off the first day of the 140 day session. On that day, accompanied by my wife and friends, I took the Oath of Office and was sworn in as your State Representative. Through that oath, I promise to uphold and champion the conservative values that Parker and Wise counties call on me to defend.

We are already hard at work in the Capitol office. Committee assignments will be released in the upcoming weeks, and more legislation is being filed every day. I’ve enjoyed meetings with constituents that represent various organizations and discussing legislation that may affect their industry and impact Texas. Our office is always here to listen and answer any questions you should have regarding legislation, so please feel free to reach out to us with your support or concerns. You can reach my Capitol office at (512) 463-0738.

HB 89 – Anti- Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Legislation

I am very proud to announce a bill that is a top priority for me this session that blocks discriminatory trade practices against Israel. HB 89 boosts the state’s global economy by prohibiting the state from investing public funds in companies that boycott Israel.

This bill sends a strong statement that Texas stands with its friends. Boycotts of entities and individuals on the basis of national origin, often amount to ethnic, religious, racial and/or nationality discrimination, which directly contradicts state public policy.

Israel is Texas’ fourth leading trade partner with numerous joint projects in agricultural research and development, science and technology and industrial research. The Lone Star State exports $495 million in product to Israel and in 2012, had $118 million in military contracts. Nearly 300 Texas companies do business with Israel. The state also has more than $50 million in high-rated State of Israel Bonds.

Texas is just one of a growing number of states in the country to respond legislatively to national origin discrimination.

On February 9, I will be hosting a Citizens Advocacy Day to show our support of Israel at the Capitol. If you are interested in this legislation, we encourage your attendance and hope to see you there!

Texas Rep to File Anti-BDS Bill by Aaron Howard

November 11, 2016

Texas rep to file anti-BDS bill

Thu, Nov 10, 2016

In the battle of ideas, one Texas legislator is taking on the BDS movement’s attempt to get state universities and other governmental entities to cut ties with Israel.

State Rep. Phil King, R-District 61, will file a bill against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement on Nov. 14.

The anti-BDS bill would require companies that contract with any government entity in Texas to verify they do not and will not boycott Israel. The bill also would prohibit state pension and endowment funds, such as the Teacher Retirement System and The University of Texas Investment Management Company from making investments with companies that boycott Israel. Texas pension and endowment funds currently are worth an estimated $270 billion dollars.

Fourteen states have passed anti-BDS legislation as of last week. Speaking to the Jewish Herald-Voice, Rep. King noted that most of those state legislatures passed anti-BDS bills by a near unanimous vote.

“We expect bipartisan support of the anti-BDS bill in the Texas House in the 85th (2017) session,” said King. “The state recognizes that economic warfare is not something most Texans approve of when it’s aimed against a friend of Texas. The BDS movement is directed at harming and destroying Israel, pure and simple.”

Enforcement of the law would be similar to what currently is in place in the Iran and Sudan sanctions. The state comptroller would have the responsibility of compiling a list of companies boycotting Israel. The comptroller then would notify those out of compliance that the state will divest from company stock holdings if they continue to boycott.

King represents Parker and Wise counties in the Texas Legislature. He currently serves as chair of the State and Federal Power and Responsibility Committee. He also serves on the Energy Resources Committee, Environmental Regulation Committee and the Select Committee on Federal Environmental Regulation. He serves as a colonel in the Texas State Guard and is a member of Trinity Bible Church.

Neither Parker nor Wise counties have a significant population of Jewish voters. King said there were four reasons he was motivated to sponsor this bill.

“First, as a Christian, my religious heritage is intrinsically linked to Israel and to the Jewish people. Second, as an American, our national security is dependent in great part on a strong Israel, often our only friend in the Middle East. Third, as a Texas legislator, our state has a substantial Jewish population and this issue is important to them. Texans have historical ties and do a lot of business with Israel. Fourth, it’s just the right thing to do.”

King sponsored a resolution (HR 44) in 83R (the 2013 Session) that commended Israel “for its cordial and mutually beneficial relationship with the United States and with the State of Texas.” The bill resolved to “support Israel in its legal, historical, moral and God-given right of self-governance and self-defense upon the entirety of its own lands, recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others, and that peace can be afforded the region only through a whole and united Israel.”

An active member of the Trinity Bible Church, King said he believes the Christian religion springs from Judaism. “You can’t have Christianity without having a literal, historical and spiritual Israel,” he noted.

King plans to pre-file the bill on Nov. 14. Pre-filing gets the paper process started, prior to the next legislative session. The bill will get an HB number, depending on the order filed and assigned.

The next legislative session begins Jan. 10. The bill probably will be referred to a House committee some time in late January. The committee will have a hearing on the bill, most likely in late February.

“Hopefully, the bill will pass out of committee sometime in March,” said King. “My hope is it will get to the House floor in early April. At that time, my hope is it will be taken up in the Texas Senate where the bill’s sponsor is Sen. Brandon Creighton, R- District 4. “I hope to have it passed by both bodies in May. We’ve got to get it done now, since the Texas legislature meets every two years. This bill has a lot of support in both the Jewish and Christian communities.”

The anti-BDS bill would have to be signed by the governor before it becomes law.

Article V Simulation

September 27, 2016

Friends, last week I traveled to Williamsburg, VA to participate in a first ever, simulation of an Article V Convention of States. This is a process, set out in Article V of the U.S. Constitution, through which states initiate amendments to our constitution. Our Founders’ intent was that states have an avenue through which to reign in an overreaching federal government should Congress fail to do so. To date, eight of the necessary 34 states have passed resolutions calling for an Article V convention to be convened. More states are expected soon.

Legislative delegates were present from almost every state. It was a successful, and quite possibly, historic exercise. The process was taken very seriously by all participants and proposed amendments were vetted through the convention. Bear in mind that this was a simulation, a dry run, more about process than content.

With that caveat, I wanted to share with you the amendments that came out of the simulation. In a true Article V Convention of States, these amendments would be sent to the states for ratification. It takes 38 states, 3/4, to ratify a constitutional amendment. Once ratified it is the law of the land.

Fiscal Restraints – 1

SECTION 1. The public debt shall not be increased except upon a recorded vote of two-thirds of each house of Congress, and only for a period not to exceed one year.

SECTION 2. No state or any subdivision thereof shall be compelled or coerced by Congress or the President to appropriate money.

SECTION 3. The provisions of the first section of this amendment shall take effect 3 years after ratification.

Fiscal Restraints – 2

SECTION 1. Congress shall not impose taxes or other exactions upon incomes, gifts, or estates.

SECTION 2. Congress shall not impose or increase any tax, duty, impost or excise without the approval of three-fifths of the House of Representatives and three-fifths of the Senate, and shall separately present such to the President.

SECTION 3. This Article shall be effective five years from the date of its ratification, at which time the Sixteenth Article of amendment is repealed.

Federal Legislative & Executive Jurisdiction – 1

SECTION 1. The power of Congress to regulate commerce among the several states shall be limited to the regulation of the sale, shipment, transportation, or other movement of goods, articles or persons. Congress may not regulate activity solely because it affects commerce among the several states.

SECTION 2. The power of Congress to make all laws that are necessary and proper to regulate commerce among the several states, or with foreign nations, shall not be construed to include the power to regulate or prohibit any activity that is confined within a single state regardless of its effects outside the state, whether it employs instrumentalities therefrom, or whether its regulation or prohibition is part of a comprehensive regulatory scheme; but Congress shall have power to define and provide for punishment of offenses constituting acts of war or violent insurrection against the United States.

SECTION 3. The Legislatures of the States shall have standing to file any claim alleging violation of this article. Nothing in this article shall be construed to limit standing that may otherwise exist for a person.

SECTION 4. This article shall become effective five years from the date of its ratification.

Federal Legislative & Executive Jurisdiction – 2

SECTION 1. The Legislatures of the States shall have authority to abrogate any provision of federal law issued by the Congress, President, or Administrative Agencies of the United States, whether in the form of a statute, decree, order, regulation, rule, opinion, decision, or other form.

SECTION 2. Such abrogation shall be effective when the Legislatures of three-fifths of the States approve a resolution declaring the same provision or provisions of federal law to be abrogated. This abrogation authority may also be applied to provisions of federal law existing at the time this amendment is ratified.

SECTION 3. No government entity or official may take any action to enforce a provision of federal law after it is abrogated according to this Amendment. Any action to enforce a provision of abrogated federal law may be enjoined by a federal or state court of general jurisdiction in the state where the enforcement action occurs, and costs and attorney fees of such injunction shall be awarded against the entity or official attempting to enforce the abrogated provision.

SECTION 4. No provision of federal law abrogated pursuant to this amendment may be reenacted or reissued for six years from the date of the abrogation.

Federal Legislative & Executive Jurisdiction – 3

Whenever one quarter of the members of the United States House of Representatives or the United States Senate transmits to the President their written declaration of opposition to any proposed or existing federal administrative regulation, in whole or in part, it shall require a majority vote of the House of Representatives and Senate to adopt or affirm that regulation. Upon the transmittal of opposition, if Congress shall fail to vote within 180 days, such regulation shall be vacated. No proposed regulation challenged under the terms of this Article shall go into effect without the approval of Congress. Congressional approval or rejection of a rule or regulation is not subject to Presidential veto under Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution.

Federal Term Limits & Judicial Jurisdiction – 1

No person shall be elected to more than six full terms in the House of Representatives. No person shall be elected to more than two full terms in the Senate. These limits shall include the time served prior to the enactment of this Article.