The weeks are flying by and I am grateful for the opportunity to undertake the task of implementing wise, frugal, limited government! Here are the latest happenings in the Texas House:Organization of the House
Legislative Challenges and Opportunities
Meetings, Events, and Austin VisitorsOrganization of the House
The Speaker of the House, Joe Straus, has just announced the committee assignments for this session. I have the privilege of serving on Border and Intergovernmental Affairs
and Urban Affairs
. I look forward to working hard for the People of District Seven and of all the State on these committees.Legislative Challenges and Opportunities
While the House was getting organized my staff and I have worked diligently to review legislation that has been filed by fellow members and requested by the Governor, built support for the bills that I filed in the fall (HB 85
and HJR 22
), and worked on new legislation.
I have some questions about the eminent domain legislation
passed by the Senate (SB 18
by Estes) and its companion (HB 279
) filed by Rep. Geren in the House and which appear to have the Governor’s support. The legislation does make some needed reforms, but the bill also appears to open the door to unprecedented use of such authority by pipeline companies to take property for exploration and production activities
and not merely transportation
(see page 3, lines 25-26). Also the bill does not go far enough in defining public use and requiring non-governmental entities such as pipeline companies to make their first offer to a landowner (prior to condemnation) based upon an appraisal like all governmental entities must do.
I have sought to support good legislation by co-authoring bills such as Rep. Morrisson’s sonogram bill
) and Rep. Driver’s Campus Personal Protection bill
), which is similar to my HB 86
. Also I have joint authored Rep. Berman’s bill to nullify Obamacare
) and HB 295
, which requires that the Secretary of State certify that a candidate for President and Vice-President of the U.S. is a natural citizen
based upon his or her submission of a birth certificate.Meetings, Events, and Austin Visitors
Over the last several weeks there have been numerous meetings with elected officials including Governor Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott, Dean of the House Tom Craddick, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, Speaker Joe Straus, and Parliamentarian Chris Griesel. Also there have been opportunities to visit and tour Fort Hood, McAllen and the border, and the Dept. of Public Safety’s Fusion Center in Austin. During the same time I have been very pleased to see some of you, my constituents, at the capitol
, including Lindale ISD Superintendent Stan Surratt, White Oak Superintendent Michael Gilbert, Dr. Calhoun of the UT Tyler Health Science Center, Dr. Mabry of UT Tyler, volunteers from CASA, Dr. John Coppedge, Dr. John Petty, Mike Pace with Farmers Insurance, and others.
In order to learn more about public school finance, I hosted a luncheon with Rep. Scott Hochberg
for members of the House and their staff. Also, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to visit over dinner with former Rep. Tony Goolsby
(my Austin neighbor and a former resident of Longview) and former Speaker Pete Laney
. The latter gave me this advice which I am seeking to follow: “Do what’s right and as long as you can explain it you will be alright
.” He also added: “Don’t do anything that you do not want your mother or your wife to know about.
For Texas and Liberty,David Simpson www.DavidSimpson.com David.Simpson@house.state.tx.us