Archive for April, 2017

Looking Out for Our First Responders

April 28, 2017

By Rep. Jason Villalba

As a State Representative, my top priority is making sure that our families are safe from those who would seek to harm us. For me, that starts by supporting our first responders. Since my first day in the Legislature, I have been a tireless advocate for law enforcement and all other first responders.

In 2013, I passed HB 1009, which created the first ever School Marshal program in America. By appointing well-trained, covert and armed school marshals to protect our students in public schools, Texas has taken a bold step to prevent the types of tragedies that we have seen in other parts of the country. During the 84th Legislative Session, I passed legislation to expand the School Marshal program to include Texas community and junior colleges. This session, I filed HB 867 to allow Texas private schools to implement the School Marshal program.

This session, in response to the tragic events in my hometown of Dallas, where we lost five of Dallas’ finest, I carried Senator West’s SB 12 in the House, which provides for more secure bulletproof vests for police officers in Texas. The bill provides vests for 50,000 to 60,000 Texas officers to better protect them from high-caliber bullets.

As well, in response to the continuing violence against first responders, I filed HB 429 in collaboration with the state and local law enforcement authorities. Under HB 429, an attack on a first responder would be considered a hate crime – which provides that those who attack first responders would be subject to graduated penalties.

Finally, I am also concerned about safety at our local places of worship. Therefore, I filed HB 659 to allow churches and synagogues to commission private security officers or hire private citizens not affiliated with a security company. HB 659 allows churches and synagogues to hire these volunteers so long as they have undergone the required training and passed a simple background check. HB 659 provides a lower priced security option and, if the guard is a parishioner, it can decrease travel time in case of emergency.

As a champion of conservative values, I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Texas House to protect our first responders and the good people of Texas that I am blessed to represent.

Ending Unfunded Mandates – Once And For All

April 1, 2017

By Rep. DeWayne Burns

I’m a small government conservative. At its heart, that means I believe every decision that can be made at the local level should be made at the local level, and that it is up to the folks in each individual community to decide for themselves what is worthy of their time, talents and tax dollars. That is why I recently filed House Joint Resolution 73, which proposes an amendment to the Texas Constitution restricting the legislature’s ability to impose mandates on counties and municipalities without also providing adequate funding to comply with those mandates.

Unfunded mandates are effectively tax increases handed down by the legislature on local families and property owners. They may be unintentional when a bill is originally passed, but often they end up forcing counties or cities to raise taxes to finance the policy. This practice must be stopped, because it is fundamentally unfair and runs counter to everything we stand for as conservative Republicans.

But I’m not naïve. I understand that there are instances when the legislature must step in and dictate a state-wide policy. I do believe, however, that when those instances occur, they should be properly funded. Anything less is just passing the buck to our county commissioners and city councils.

If you agree that the practice of unfunded mandates should be ended, once and for all, please contact your State Representative and State Senator today, and encourage them to co-author HJR 73.

Rep. DeWayne Burns has represented District 58 in the Texas House since 2015 and serves on the House Committees on Natural Resources, Homeland Security & Public Safety, and Rules & Resolutions. House District 58 includes Bosque and Johnson Counties.

Connect With Us