I hope that you enjoyed time with your families this past weekend as we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
We are now over half-way through the 83rd Legislature, and the activity is increasing substantially.This past week we took two important votes on education and water policy and I want to let you know how I voted and why.
On Tuesday, the education reform bill (HB 5) relating to to public school accountability
was laid out before the House. It passed with a vote of 145 to 2 after 9 hours of debate where we considered 165 amendments. I voted in favor. This bill is a step in the right direction, giving more freedom and flexibility for students, parents, teachers, and administrators. It reduces state-mandated, one-size-fits-all testing requirements and grants more flexibility in curriculum paths to students. From my numerous communications with constituents, it is obvious that this reform bill is a significant improvement over the status quo.
And, on the topic of education, it was good to see my friends from Big Sandy and White Oak ISDs
this week at the Capitol! I appreciate your thoughtful input on how education policy affects our children in East Texas. (L to R: Scott Beene, Machelle Robbins, and Michael Gilbert)
Then on Wednesday we debated House Bill 4, which creates a state water infrastructure bank
. In my view, this bill unnecessarily increases the size and scope of state government. Capital for long-term water projects is already available at attractive rates from private sources. As evidence, in 2012 bonded indebtedness for water in Texas increased $4.7 billion.
This new government bank will also facilitate substantial and ongoing increases in local and regional indebtedness without having to obtain authority from the voters each time to issue the debt, which is dangerous when our state is already the third most-indebted state in the nation. Texas water districts are currently almost $50 billion in debt
, according to the Texas Bond Review Board. For these reasons I voted against the bill.
Recently we also took up the "sunset bill" for the Public Utilities Commission, HB 1660
. I voted “nay” on final passage of the bill because new authority was given to the PUC to issue cease and desist orders. It is a violation of due process to delegate such authority to a bureaucracy rather than keeping it in the judicial process, maintaining checks and balances against abuse of unilateral power.
And, among other things, in the County Affairs Committee
we've dealt with local hospital districts, zoning and building regulations, and water rate policy.
Beside working in the Legislature, I am grateful for recent opportunities to meet with constituents in the district
, including attending the annual Chamber of Commerce banquet in Gladewater, honoring MSgt. Travis Watkins at the Medal of Honor Ceremony at the Gladewater Memorial Cemetery, hosting a townhall in Gilmer, and speaking at the We The People Second Amendment Rally
in Longview and the quarterly meeting of the Upshur County Republican Party.
Thank you to the ladies from Upshur Manor who came to visit, too! (On left is Shari Richey and right is Beverly Anderson. Both are part of Texas Health Care Association.)
My staff and I very much appreciate your continued prayers and input. As always, I will seek to represent you and to fight for your liberty here in Austin as the second half of the session progresses.
For Texas and Liberty,David Simpsonwww.DavidSimpson.com
Thanks to the members of the Tyler and Longview chapters of the Texas Association of Builders who came by to visit!