Three days remain in the 86th Legislative Session, and as the clock continues to tick away, the House and Senate are coming closer together on the negotiating process for a fiscally responsible budget, as well as an agreement to provide tax reform to property owners and transform public education funding. It has been an incredible honor to represent you, and I thank you for allowing me the opportunity to fight for you. As we approach the final days of the 86th Legislative Session, I am pleased to report that four of the bills I filed have passed out of the Senate and are headed to Governor Abbott's desk to be signed into law. To pass this number of bills as a freshman legislator is a significant legislative accomplishment, and I appreciate the input and support from local elected officials, constituents and my staff invested to ensure these bills become law.
These bills include:
HB 693 - Is in honor of State Trooper Damon Allen who was killed in the line of duty in 2017. The bill would name part of State Highway 84 in Freestone County the "Trooper Damon Allen Memorial Highway."
HB 2363 - This bill reduces restrictions and red tape regarding gun storage for foster care parents. Currently, foster parents are required, by statute, to store their ammunition and firearms separately in locked storage containers, my bill would reduce that regulation and give the opportunity for ammunition and firearms to be stored together. I strongly believe in the rights given to us through the second amendment and I will fight to protect those rights while I have the privilege to serve you.
HB 2196 - HB 2196 simply allows for alcohol to be sold on the Texas State Railroad Authority property. While the permitting locally and through the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission (TABC) the sale of alcoholic beverages on the Texas State Railroad Authority would strengthen the authority as a tourist attraction and expand the economic impact that the authority provides to the surrounding areas of HD 8.
HB 2127 - This aimed to streamline the Railroad Commission (RRC) regulation of certain compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) occupational licenses. State law requires that personswho manufacture CNG or LNG containers by licensed by the RRC. These regulations are duplicative with standards established by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASME) and other US Department of Transportation (USDOT) requirements for CNG and LNG container manufacturers. Given this duplication in regulatory oversight, this bill removed the requirement that CNG and LNG container manufacturers be licensed by the RRC.
Recent Bills that have Passed:
Last week, the House worked late into the evenings to pass meaningful legislation to the Governor's Desk. Some of the most significant bills include the following:
SB 14, which will encourage the deployment of broadband internet service in rural areas. One of the biggest disadvantages that we face in rural Texas is the lack of access to affordable high-speed internet. As the world continues to become more connected and automated, it is going to be vitally important for rural areas to have access to this utility. It is my hope that with SB 14, rural Texas will be able to close the gap with urban areas.
SB 16, which will create a student loan repayment assistance program for law enforcement officers. We have a growing shortage of law enforcement officers across the state and this program will be instrumental in helping attract new men and women into law enforcement. The House recently passed this measure, which will provide up to $4,000 a year and up to $20,000 over a college career for peace officers to pursue their college education or to help them repay their college loans. There is a growing shortage of law enforcement officers in Texas, and this bill seeks to assist those who aspire to become peace officers with education and training expenses. It is an honor to support our law enforcement officers who serve our communities faithfully with this program.
SB 18, While the U.S. Constitution and Texas Constitution express that we have the right to speak freely, colleges are working to limit that expression on their campuses. This bill makes it clear that the state’s policy is to protect the expressive rights of all persons guaranteed by the United States and Texas Constitutions by recognizing freedom of speech and assembly as central to the mission of higher education institutions.
SB 22, prevents the state and political subdivisions from using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion providers and their affiliates, with exemptions for certain hospitals, physician offices, and residency programs. I'm proud to co-sponsor this bill that prohibits taxpayer dollars at both the state and local level from being used to fund abortion facilities and affiliates.
SB 1978, protects the First Amendment right of ALL Texans. This bill supports religious organizations of their choosing to do so without fear that it could impact their ability to work for or do business with governmental entities. Various cities and governments want to attack your religious liberties. No local governments should be able to infringe on the rights guaranteed by the first amendment. With the pass of SB 1978, your right to express your beliefs are safeguarded by Senate Bill 1978. No one in Texas should have their religious freedoms infringed or have the personal opinions and preferences of others forced on them.
On Wednesday, May 15th, I had a great time speaking to the San Antonio Livestock Exposition (S.A.L.E.) Leadership extension program with Representative Kacal and Representative Bailes. It was an honor to speak to them about my experience with both the TALL program and what it has been like to represent you as a legislator.
As the legislative session draws to a close, please feel free to contact my office with your concerns about
bills that are still being considered. We always welcome your input.
Recently, we've had high schools all across HD 8 hosting their graduation ceremonies. I'm proud to congratulate them on their accomplishments and I wish them the best of luck on their future endeavors!
This will be the last weekly newsletter during the legislative session. You can look forward to a full recap of session to hit your inboxes and mailboxes later this interim. I always want to keep House District 8 informed and look forward to working with everyone on important issues before the next legislative session. It is an honor to represent you in the Texas House of Representatives.
I am excited to also announce that we will be hosting a grand opening party at our new district office on August 8th in Hillsboro! We will have more details in the weeks to come. Keep an eye out for a social media announcement or email. Mark your calendars and get ready, it's going to be a great time!
During the interim, you can look back at legislation, bill analyses, witness lists, and committee hearings from both the House and Senate from the 86th Legislative Session by clicking this link here. In addition to these online sources, you can also call the Legislative Reference Library's Bill Status Hotline at (877) 824-7038.
Jeff Carlson - Chief of Staff Christopher Lee - Legislative Director Angelia Orr - District Director
Representative Cody Harris House District 8
Contact Phone Number Capitol Number: (512)-463-0730