Archive for August, 2015

Price Appointed Co-Chair of HHSC Transition Legislative Oversight Committee

August 31, 2015

By Rep. Four Price

Committee created via passage of Senate Bill 200 during 2015 Regular Session

Austin, TX — Representative Four Price has been appointed Co-Chair of the Health and Human Services Transition Legislative Oversight Committee. The Committee will be comprised of four state representatives, four senators and three public members. Pursuant to Senate Bill 200, the Committee will work with the Executive Commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) in reorganizing the delivery of the state’s health and human services. The legislation provides that the Committee is co-chaired by a member of the Texas House of Representatives and a member of the Texas Senate.

In appointing Representative Price as co-chair, Speaker Joe Straus said, “Representative Price is an outstanding legislator who excels at addressing complex challenges. He has quickly become one of the House’s most respected voices on issues related to health and human services. The House has full confidence in Representative Price’s ability to provide strong and thoughtful leadership during this important transition.”

“I am honored by Speaker Straus’ confidence in my ability to serve in this leadership role. The work that this committee will do, alongside HHSC Executive Commissioner Chris Traylor and his team, will result in a more nimble, more responsive, and more streamlined health and human services enterprise. The goal of Senate Bill 200 all along was to breakdown silos, reduce duplication, increase efficiencies and achieve better delivery of services. I look forward to working with my committee colleagues to meet those objectives and improve outcomes for those Texans receiving services,” said Price.

Senate Bill 200, authored by Senator Jane Nelson and sponsored by Price, was overwhelmingly passed by the Texas Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott in June 2015. The legislation had its genesis in the recommendations adopted by the Sunset Advisory Commission during the last ‘sunset’ cycle. “I want to thank my colleagues on the Sunset Advisory Commission for their incredible work which led to the passage of this key and historic bill. I also want to acknowledge the dedicated work performed by the Sunset Commission staff, the attorneys with the Texas Legislative Council, and members’ legislative staff. Their respective contributions have been invaluable,” commented Representative Price.

Hal Talton
(512) 463-0470

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August 28, 2015

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Representative Murr Appointed to Texas Judicial Council

August 27, 2015

By Rep. Andrew Murr

JUNCTION, TEXAS – On Tuesday, Representative Andrew Murr received an appointment to the Texas Judicial Council. The Texas Judicial Council, created in 1929 as the policy-making body for the state judiciary, studies and reports on the organization and practices of the Judicial Branch of Texas to state government. The appointment was made by the Speaker of the House, Joe Straus. Straus said he appointed Murr because of his experience as an attorney in private practice and as a county judge.

“Representative Murr had a strong first session as a Member of the House,” Speaker Straus said. “I am confident that he will do very good work on this Council and provide leadership on improving our judicial system. As an attorney and former county judge, he will bring a valuable perspective to the Council’s work.”

The Texas Judicial Council studies methods to simplify judicial procedures, expedite court business, and better administer justice across the state. It examines the work of the different statutory courts and submits recommendations for improvement of the system to the Texas Legislature, Governor Abbott and the Supreme Court. The Council receives and considers input from judges, public officials, members of the bar, and private citizens.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht said he is looking forward to Murr’s input. “Because the work of the Texas Judicial Council is vital to the functioning of the judicial branch, having legislators serving on the Council is critical,” said Chief Jutice Hecht. “Representative Murr’s experience as a lawyer and county judge, along with his service in the House of Representatives, will greatly enhance our work. We look forward to his contributions.”

The Texas Judicial Council is composed of six appointed and 16 ex-officio members. Chief Justice Hecht is Chair of the council, while Sharon Keller, Presiding Judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals, serves as Vice-Chair. The Lieutenant Governor appoints two members of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives appoints one member of the House. Additionally, the Chair of the Texas House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence has a seat on the Council. The Chief Justice appoints ten judicial members, two from each level of court. The Governor appoints six citizen members to the Council, three of which are members of the State Bar of Texas and two of which must not be licensed to practice law.

Rep. Bell Appointed to Joint Interim Committee to Study a Coastal Barrier System

August 26, 2015

By Rep. Cecil Bell

Austin, TX – State Representative Cecil Bell, Jr. (Magnolia) has been appointed to the Joint Interim Committee to Study a Coastal Barrier System, pursuant to Senate Bill 695, as passed during the 84th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature.

The purpose of the committee is to study the feasibility and desirability of creating and maintaining a coastal barrier system in the state to prevent storm surge damage to gulf beaches or coastal ports, industry, and property.

“The Gulf Coast is a vital part of Texas’ economy. As a Member of the House Committee on Land and Resource Management, I listened to testimony on S.B. 695 stressing the need to protect our landowners, environmental interests, and lucrative industries. I am proud to continue that work on the Coastal Barrier Joint Committee,” said Rep. Bell.

The Committee will report its findings and recommendations to the Legislature not later than November 1, 2016.

Rep. Simmons Appointed to House Select Transportation Committee

August 26, 2015

By Rep. Ron Simmons

AUSTIN – Texas House Speaker Joe Straus named Representative Ron Simmons (Carrollton) and eight other legislators to the House Select Committee on Transportation Planning on Tuesday.

“Representative Simmons has been an effective voice on transportation issues from the moment he arrived in the Legislature,” Speaker Straus said. “By authoring House Bill 20, he brought needed reforms to the way the state funds and prioritizes road projects. This appointment will allow him to continue providing leadership on one of the most important issues facing this state.”
The committee, created pursuant to a provision from HB 20 filed by Representative Simmons during the recent 84th Legislative Session and signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott, will review and evaluate transportation revenue projections, funding categories and project selection criteria, rules for project prioritization, methods of financing, and performance evaluation metrics and measurement tools.

“It is an honor to serve the people of Texas on this committee,” said Simmons upon hearing of his appointment to the Select Committee. “As the primary author of House Bill 20, I am eager to continue the discussion on how to address Texas’ growing congestion and connectivity issues while ensuring the funding and prioritization for transportation projects are administered in an objective, transparent manner with accountability for every dollar spent.”

Rep. Joe Pickett of El Paso will chair the committee, which will also include Reps. Larry Phillips of Sherman, Armando “Mando” Martinez of Weslaco, Lyle Larson of San Antonio, Paul Workman of Austin, Debbie Riddle of Houston, Armando Walle of Houston, and James White of Hillister.

After gathering testimony, the committee will report its findings and recommendations to the Legislature not later than November 1, 2016.

Statement from Rep. Brooks Landgraf Regarding DPS Shooting in Odessa

August 11, 2015

By Rep. Brooks Landgraf

“I’m saddened that two DPS troopers were shot in the line of duty today here in Odessa. I pray that both troopers make a full recovery, and I’m happy to hear that they are expected to do so. These senseless events should serve as a reminder that we owe a great deal of gratitude to law enforcement officers who place themselves in harm’s way to protect public safety.”

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