Legislation from the 84th Session
Truth in Taxation for our Highways
HB 469 directs that all the motor vehicle sales tax revenue received goes into the state highway fund instead of the general revenue fund.
HJR 53 is the enabling legislation to HB 469. HJR 53 is a constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot in November dedicating certain revenue derived from the tax imposed on the sale of motor vehicles to the state highway fund.
House Bill 634 is a common sense approach to allowing legal guardians necessary access to a ward in the criminal justice system. This legislation will also allow the guardian to request defense for the ward and to provide the necessary documents.
It is important that we protect the rights of legal guardians throughout our state. This bill is a common sense approach to allowing legal guardians the necessary resources to access a ward in the criminal justice system.
After working with Judge Claudia Laird, Sheriff Tommy Gage and other stakeholders from across the county and state, Representative Metcalf is thrilled to see this bill signed into law. This law will not only benefit and protect the legal guardians, but will also help ease the burdens on our criminal justice system throughout the state of Texas
The passage of HB 634 will also allow the guardian the ability to request defense, provide the necessary documents and will help to protect those deemed incapable of helping themselves, which could include the youth, elderly, or mentally handicapped.
Rebate of state franchise taxes.
Would direct the Comptroller to set up a rebate system for payers of the franchise tax by returning one quarter of any unspent and non-dedicated balance at the end of the biennium to businesses. One half of the unspent balance would still go to the Rainy Day Fund as it does currently, and the remaining quarter would be returned to General Revenue. Rebates would be calculated by using the proportional values of the amounts paid versus the total amount of the franchise tax collections and the funds available for rebate purposes. Putting in place a rebate system allows the legislature to simultaneously prioritize franchise tax relief and maintain current revenue streams.
Relating to the computation of the franchise tax
Currently, the Texas franchise tax requires businesses to account for their total revenue and then subtract 1 of 4 possible deductions: 1) 30% of total revenue, 2) $1 million, 3) Cost of Goods Sold, OR 4) Cost of Compensation. The problem with this system is that none of these deductions accurately represent the full costs of doing business. This bill would address this issue by eliminating the current formula for franchise tax deductions and replacing it with one simplified formula: Taxable Margin = Total Revenue - $1 million - Cost of Goods Sold - Cost of Compensation. By allowing businesses to deduct both the cost of goods sold and the cost of compensation, we would create a more accurate reflection of the actual costs of doing business. Many other potential business costs not included in the Cost of Goods Sold or Cost of Compensation will be subtracted through the $1 million revenue deduction. The $1 million deduction will also ensure that taxpayers who currently are not subject to franchise tax are not harmed by these changes.
The fight against High Speed Rail
House Bill 1889 amends Section 131 of the Transportation Code that would require that a corporation looking to construct an interurban electric railway through a municipality or county must first have the consent of the governing body of the county or municipality before they can begin construction.
Tow Rotation List
Montgomery County is one of the fastest growing areas of the state. Along with this growth comes increased traffic. There are currently over 200 registered tow trucks within the county, and it is not uncommon for 20 or more to arrive on the scene of an accident. This mass of tow trucks increases the likelihood of secondary accidents and proves a danger to public safety. This will allow the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department to maintain a tow rotation list if they so choose. This will ensure that when there is a car accident, there will not be an influx of tow trucks on the side of the road.
Texas Firearm Protection Act
HB 2269 would have protected Texans from an unlawful firearm seizure. Protects Texans from federal government overreach on our Second Amendment rights.
Puppy Protection Bill
HB 2309 would have given the Montgomery County Commissioners Court the ability to oversee the sale of dogs and cats on public roadways in unincorporated areas within the county, if they so choose.
This bill aligns state law to federal law by amending the Texas Labor Code to conform to the federal requirement that states must take action to recover certain unemployment compensation debt through the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Management Service (FMS). These changes must be made to Texas Law in order to maintain compliance with Federal law, ensuring that Texas would receive a $130 million grant.
HB 3764 / SB 1766
Honey Deregulation Bill
To allow small-scale beekeepers or individuals who own and manage their own hives entirely by themselves or with the help of immediate family members could sell up to 2,500 lbs. of their honey directly to consumers at their home, farmers market, farm stand, or at a municipal, county, or nonprofit events without having to get permits from the State Health Department.
Requiring Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients
Would require drug testing of certain persons seeking benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The purpose of this bill is to prevent illegal drug users from having the opportunity to misuse government funds.
Zero Based Budgeting for State Agencies
Would require zero-based budgeting for state agencies as part of the sunset review process.
Franchise Tax Phase Out
The purpose of this bill is to reduce the percentage taken from the taxable margin from 1% - 0% in four years. The bill would take effect in 2015, and the process of lowering the tax would be gradual and begin in 2016. The phase out will be completed by January 1, 2020.
Protection from Synthetic Drugs, adding certain substances to the Texas Controlled Substances Act.
Texas has seen a significant increase in the amount of synthetic drugs being sold and possessed in recent years and that law enforcement and prosecutors are prevented from policing these dangerous substances because there are no laws in place to address the issue. The drugs often have psychedelic effects on a user that are similar to the effects from a hallucinogenic drug. The drugs can be in both liquid and powder form and laced into paper or mixed with edible goods. Side effects of these synthetic drugs include violent shaking, vomiting, insomnia, paranoia, and seizures. Interested parties contend that there has also been an increase in adolescent deaths due to ingestion of these drugs. H.B. 595 provides law enforcement and crime laboratories with tools to hold individuals involved with these drugs accountable and to make Texas safer.
English in the Courtroom
HB 629 would require that everyone who is selected to serve as a petit juror must have the ability to read and write English.
More Teaching and Less Standardized Tests
HB 742 would help to further cut down the number of standardized test that our children have to take.
Nullification of Gun Free Zones
HB 805 would have allowed the concealed carry of a handgun within Federal Buildings, i.e., post offices.
Protect our kids from online predators
HB 1123 would establish that an inmate serving a sentence for possession or promotion of child pornography is not eligible for release on parole until the inmate's actual calendar time served, without consideration of good conduct time, equals one-half of the inmate's sentence.
Make English the official language of Texas
HB 1326 would designate English as the official language of Texas. A state agency is not required to provide documents, publish written materials, or provide website content in any language other than the official language of this state.
Property appraisal cap
HB 2041 would require appraisal districts to limit the growth in the appraised value of real property to 5 percent per year.
More local control in the classroom
HB 3571 would have given more local control to communities in selecting instructional material in Public Schools.
Surveying public land near the border
Would have required that General Land Office to disclose the amount of Public Lands owned by the state near the Texas-Mexico Border.
Protect property owners from damages from High Speed Rail projects
HB 3915 would protect property owner’s rights and taxpayer funds from potential damages from a High Speed Rail project.
Protect tax payers from bailing out High Speed Rail projects
HB 3918 would have ensured that state bonds could not be granted to assist in the construction of a high-speed rail project.
Remove any conflict of interests from serving on the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District
HB 4195 would remove the conflicts of interest exemption from the district's enabling legislation in order to ensure that the district board is able to act with transparency and without conflicts of interest.
Declaring that presidential executive orders cannot interfere with states' rights.
Urging Congress to reimburse the State of Texas for bearing the financial burden of the federal government's responsibility to secure the Texas-Mexico international border.
Urging Congress to repeal the health insurance tax
The proposed Constitutional Amendment would require appraisal districts to limit the growth in the appraised value of real property to 5 percent per year
Anti-Human Trafficking Act
Relating to certain criminal and civil consequences of trafficking of persons, compelling prostitution, and certain other related criminal offenses; to the prevention, prosecution, and punishment of those offenses, and to compensation paid to victims of those offenses. The Anti-Human Trafficking Omnibus Bill, House Bill 10, a comprehensive piece of legislation that is aimed at addressing all aspects of anti-trafficking efforts.
Stronger Border, Safer Texas Act
House Bill 11 will permanently strengthen the presence of DPS Troopers on the border (200 additional full time troopers), curb the flow of the cartels’ supply lines and create a new team of investigators who will help police crackdown on crime syndicates wherever they operate in Texas.
Transparent Funding for Texas Highways
The recent passage of Proposition 1 by a significant margin indicates that the general public is supportive of increasing funding for transportation projects across Texas. While additional funding is crucial to the state's continued economic success, there must be increased accountability to ensure that taxpayer dollars are wisely spent funding allocation for transportation projects by the Texas Department of Transportation and local transportation entities.
Transportation planning and expenditures by the Texas Department of Transportation and planning organizations
HB 20 is a bill requiring TxDOT to develop a performance-based planning and programming process that would allow the legislature to assess how well TxDOT is achieving stated goals. HB 20 also requires the Transportation Commission to establish a scoring system to prioritize projects seeking state funding.
Franchise tax reduction
HB 32 will permanently reduce the business franchise tax by 25 percent across the board.
Protects land owners right to extract oil /natural gas
HB 40 will ensure Texas is not bogged down in multiple layers of regulations by expressing that municipalities may not regulate aspects of oil and gas activity that are the exclusive jurisdiction of the state.
Protection from federal overreach and preserve the 10th Amendment
Denies the federal government the power to take any legislative, executive, or judicial action that violates the constitution, specifically including those actions that unconstitutionally undermine, diminish, or disregard the balance of powers between the states and the federal government established by the constitution.
Prohibits Abortion that is based on the gender of the child
Relating to prohibiting abortion that is based on the sex of the unborn child.
Will award the Texas Purple Heart to forces wounded or killed in the 2009 terrorist attack at Fort Hood.
Repeal certain taxes on agricultural land
Relating to the repeal of the additional ad valorem taxes imposed as a result of certain changes in the use of open-space land appraised as agricultural land.
Require E-Verify for all state agencies
HB 183 will require State Agencies to participate in the E-Verify program in hiring employees. Passed, as its identical Senate companion SB 374. Requires that state agencies and public universities use the E-Verify system to protect against the hiring of those in the country illegally.
County expenditures database
HB 317 would create a county databases containing information on county expenditures. Promotes Transparency.
HB 408, would ban the practice of "double dipping" by state elected officials. If passed, it would bar officials from collecting a salary and state pension at the same time, if their retirement payments are triggered as a result of their service as an elected official. This issue received a great deal of attention during the 2012 Presidential election, when it came to light that due to a loophole in state statute, elected officials are able to use time served in office to collect both a state pension and a state salary at the same time.
Training for abortion facility personnel to identify victims of sex trafficking.
Requires personnel of abortion facilities and certain other facilities performing abortions to complete training on human trafficking.
Establishes a Texas Bullion Dispensary
Would create a Fort Knox-like repository for state bullion. The depository is established to serve as the custodian, guardian, and administrator of certain bullion and specie that may be transferred to or otherwise acquired by this state or an agency, a political subdivision, or another instrumentality of this state.
Would have prohibited the application of any foreign laws that infringe upon state or federal law.
This bill would have only applied to family law (marriages and suits affecting the parent child relationship)
Protects Texans from synthetic marijuana
Designates criminal prosecution and other purposes of certain chemicals commonly referred to as synthetic cannabinoids as controlled substances and controlled substance analogues under the Texas Controlled Substances Act; amending provisions subject to a criminal penalty. Synthetic marihuana in Texas is causing growing concern due to the dangerous side effects of using the drug, including hallucinations, seizures, convulsions, and, in extreme cases, death. HB 597 would add certain chemicals to the controlled substance act to try to curb the rise in synthetic marijuana.
Protects the sanctity of marriage
Relating to the funding, issuing, and litigation of certain marriage licenses. Preserves the sanctity of traditional marriage between a man and a woman
American Laws for American Courts
Relating to the application of foreign laws and foreign forum selection in this state. A court ruling could not be based on foreign law if the application of that law would violate a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
Protects our children from online predators
This legislation will narrow down certain legal definitions involving minors who are solicited online to meet for the purpose of engaging in illegal sexual conduct. This bill was filed to combat the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals striking down part of that law citing it was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad because it prohibited a wide array of constitutionally protected speech and is not narrowly drawn to achieve only the legitimate objective of protecting children from sexual abuse. This bill will fill gaps in the law that currently allows predators to groom minors for illicit purposes.
Loosens DPS fingerprint requirements for identification cards
Relating to fingerprints collected by the Texas Department of Public Safety from an applicant for a driver's license or personal identification certificate and used for the department's image verification system.
Open Carry of a handgun
HB 910 amends current law relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry a holstered handgun
HB 937 / SB 11
Allows CHL holders to conceal carry on college campuses.
Article V. delegation selection
HB 1110 adds structure to the process of how Texas would participate in an Article V convention if one were ever called. Both supporters and opponents of using Article V have concerns about what has been called a “runaway convention.”
Chris Kyle Memorial Highway
HB 1187 designates a section of U.S. Highway 287 in Midlothian to be named after The American Sniper, Chris Kyle.
Protects consumers from misleading or false advertising on synthetic products
HB 1199 deals with deceptive representations or other conduct concerning certain synthetic substances as a violation of the Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act.
Provides additional penalties for a person who causes harm to someone else by selling or manufacturing certain synthetic substances
Civil liability of a person who produces, distributes, sells, or provides or aids in the production, distribution, sale, or provision of certain synthetic substances to another person for damages caused by the other person.
Requires that all human sexuality education course materials and instructions used in public schools teach that life begins at conception.
Relating to the allocation of certain motor vehicle sales tax revenue to the state highway fund and to the uses of that revenue.
Under this bill, private health insurance plans and those offered through Obamacare could not provide coverage for abortions except in the case of a medical emergency.
This legislation would have given Texans the option to not pay for others’ abortions by way of buying into health plans.
Helps curb frivolous lawsuits
Relating to consideration of asbestos or silica trust claims in certain actions asserting asbestos- or silica-related injuries.
Criminalizes coerced abortions
The bill criminalizes the act of any person coercing a woman into an abortion, amending the Texas Penal Code to include abortion coercion as a Class A misdemeanor. Secondly, abortion providers would be required to display signage about coerced abortion, informing women who feel coerced that they can take time to call assistance hotlines, abuse shelters, and would announce that abortion coercion is against the law. This bill would also have required law enforcement to respond and investigate the reported coercion, and, when the mother is a minor, the involvement of Child Protective Services.
Protects the sanctity of marriage
Relating to the funding and issuing of marriage licenses and certifications and the recognition of certain marriages.
Repeals gender neutral bathrooms
Relating to the prosecution of entry of a person into a public restroom designated for the opposite sex as disorderly conduct.
Advanced notification of High Speed Rail construction projects
Would require notification to legislators and county judges of certain applications or notices for an electric railway project.
Protect the 4th Amendment from cell phone data collection
Relates to warrants or orders issued to obtain location information from wireless communications devices and to public access to law enforcement or prosecutor requests for certain related location or communication information. This would require a search warrant for law enforcement to access personal location data from a third-party cell service provider.
Protects our kids from child pornography
Relating to the payment of restitution to certain individuals depicted in child pornography and to increasing the punishment for certain individuals convicted of the offense of possession or promotion of child pornography.
Protecting patients from discrimination and conflicts of interest at the end of life.
Protects minors from receiving an abortion
Current Texas Law currently requires both parental consent and notice before an elective abortion. However, pregnant minors may get permission from a judge to undergo the abortion without any parental involvement. This judicial bypass process has numerous loopholes through which the abortion industry and activist lawyers usher minors through exploiting parental rights. This bill would close these loopholes and include more protections for the pregnant minors.
Protects children with Down syndrome
This bill would have provide valuable medical and scientific-based information to expectant parents regarding Down syndrome, including information addressing physical, developmental, and educational outcomes, and all of the treatment options available to children with Down syndrome.
This bill requires medical professionals to secure the consent (not just give notice) of the patient or surrogate before issuing a Do-Not-Resuscitate Order (called DNR or DNAR), which could authorize the withholding of life-saving medical care and hasten the death of the patient.
Eliminates wrongful birth lawsuits
Ensuring patient’s right to food and water.
Relating to the provision of artificially administered nutrition and hydration and life-sustaining treatment.
Excludes abortions from tax payer funded health insurance plans.
This reform to current law would limit the statutory ethics committee process to only be used to withdraw treatment that is physiologically futile. This bill would also clarify that treatment decisions cannot be based on discriminatory judgments against persons with disabilities, the elderly, and terminally ill patients.
Signs required to be displayed at facilities that perform abortions, to help victims of sex trafficking.
HB 3567 / SB 2065
Pastor Protection Act
Protects the sanctity of marriage
Relating to the religious freedom of a conscientious objector to act or fail to act with respect to certain issues of marriage, sexual relations, and gender.
Helps protect minors from forced abortions
Helps protect parents’ rights of pregnant minors.
Protects the sanctity of marriage
Relating to the issuance, enforcement, and recognition of marriage licenses and declarations of informal marriage.
Supporting prayers, including the use of the word "God," at public gatherings, and displays of the Ten Commandments in public educational institutions and other government buildings.
Protects our 10th Amendment
Claiming sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution, serving notice to the federal government to halt and reverse certain mandates, and providing that certain federal legislation be prohibited or repealed.
Urges Congress to end the ban on crude oil exports
Urges Congress to expedite natural gas exports
Builds a new statue on the capitol grounds to honor veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
Proposing a constitutional amendment temporarily dedicating a portion of the revenue derived from the state sales and use tax to the state highway fund.
Proposing a constitutional amendment to the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife.
Article V. Convention
Applying to the Congress of the United States to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the limited purpose of proposing an amendment to the constitution to provide for a federal balanced budget.
Proposing a constitutional amendment dedicating certain revenue derived from the tax imposed on the sale of motor vehicles to the state highway fund.
Property Tax Relief
Increases the homestead exemption for school district property taxes from $15,000 to $25,000, providing $1.2 billion in property tax relief over the biennium for Texas homeowners.
Constitutionally dedicate a portion of motor vehicle sales tax collections to road projects