Archive for January, 2015

Rep. Workman Announces Legislation to Create the Texas Border Patrol

January 9, 2015

By Rep. Paul Workman

AUSTIN – Speaking at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s 13th annual Policy Orientation, State Representative Paul Workman today announced his plan to file legislation that would create the Texas Border Patrol.

“For too long, the federal government has neglected its responsibilities along the U.S.-Mexico border.” said Rep. Workman. “Our citizens cannot wait any longer for a secure border between Texas and Mexico, which is why I will be filing legislation to create a Texas Border Patrol.”

The planned legislation would create a Texas Border Patrol within the existing framework of the Texas Department of Public Safety to focus exclusively on the criminal element along the Texas-Mexico border. The Texas Border Patrol would be required to coordinate and cooperate with local and federal law enforcement and the Attorney General would be instructed to attempt to recover funding from the federal government.

“It is unfortunate that we have a federal government that has for years neglected the safety of its citizens along our southern border, but Texas never shies from a challenge,” said Rep. Workman. “Texas can and will secure its southern border.”

Brian Mitchell
(512) 463-0652

House to Push Greater Oversight of State Contracts

January 9, 2015

By Rep. Joe Straus

AUSTIN – The Texas House will soon release a budget proposal that significantly strengthens oversight of state agency contracts, Speaker Joe Straus announced Friday.

The budget that the House will file in the coming weeks will require an agency or institution of higher education that wants to award a contract, or make a purchase, worth more than $10 million to meet several new reporting requirements. The requirements will also apply to contracts and purchases that are worth more than $1 million and do not go through a competitive bidding process.

The agency issuing the contract would have to notify the Legislative Budget Board, Governor, State Auditor, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, chair of the Senate Finance Committee and chairs of any other committees with jurisdiction over contracting at least 30 days prior to the expenditure. With that notice, the agency would also be required to provide:

• Information about the nature of the contract and the vendor awarded it.

• A certification by the agency’s executive director that the process used to award the contract or make the purchase complies with the state’s Contract Management Guide, State of Texas Procurement Manual and all applicable laws. If the process did not comply with those measures, the agency would be required to explain what alternate process was used, the legal justification for using that process and the individual directing the use of the alternate process.

• A certification by the agency’s executive director that the agency can verify vendor performance and deliverables, payment of goods and services only within the scope of the contract, and other information.

Importantly, the House budget will make clear that the state Comptroller should not allow the expenditure of funds if the Legislative Budget Board says the requirements listed above have not been met.

“As legislators, we are stewards of taxpayer dollars,” said Speaker Straus, San Antonio. “We have a responsibility to see that state agencies use public resources in a way that is appropriate and transparent. These reforms, combined with legislative changes, will help prevent abuses in the contracting process and make executive agencies more accountable to the Legislature and the public.”

Speaker Straus has repeatedly stressed the need for responsible stewardship. Leading up to the beginning of the 84th Legislature on Tuesday, he has called for the House to continue its commitment to fiscal discipline, to budget transparency and to greater accountability in the way agencies use taxpayer dollars.

Jason Embry
(512) 463-0223

Representative Bell Files Bill to Defend Traditional Marriage in Texas

January 7, 2015

Austin, TX – Today, Representative Bell (Magnolia) filed legislation known as the Texas Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act. House Bill 623 is worded to prohibit state or local funds, including governmental salaries, from being used to license or support same-sex marriage.

“When I was elected, I made a promise to my constituents to fight to protect our traditional values and to stand strong in the defense of our constitutional rights as Texans and as Americans. Texas is a sovereign state and our citizens have the right to define marriage. We as Texans voted in 2005 to define marriage as being solely between a man and woman. In Texas marriage is sacred and traditional families are recognized as the fabric of our society.” said Rep. Bell.

“I was disappointed, to say the least, when a federal judge ruled Texas’s constitutional definition of marriage to be an unconstitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The 10th Amendment protects the right of Texas to pass Prop 2. With the 84th Session around the corner, Texas will stand up and defend its constitutional right against federal overreach,” said Rep. Bell.

On Friday, the Firth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments over statewide bans that prevent same-sex couples from getting married.

In addition to prohibiting the use of taxpayer funds or salary, H.B. 623 expressly prohibits state or local government employees from recognizing, granting, or enforcing same-sex marriage licenses. Employees who violate the law may not receive salaries or taxpayer-funded pensions or benefits. H.B. 623 also contains provisions prohibiting courts from recognizing same-sex licenses and requires a court to dismiss actions challenging the law. The bill also contains a severance clause.

H.B. 623 is supported by Texas Values and the Conservative Republicans of Texas.

Jessica Lynch, Chief of Staff
(512) 463-0650

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