As fall steadily approaches, days become a little shorter and nights a little cooler. The serenity of looking forward to pumpkin pie is dimmed for many by the piles of sheetrock and stripped out carpet, compliments of that little storm called Imelda.
With Harvey still fresh in our memory, just when we thought stability was in our reach, torrential rains decimated areas in HD 18 far worse and more quickly than in recent history. Liberty, San Jacinto, and Walker counties saw rainfall ranging from 42" in some areas, to hardly a drop in others. We were fortunate to escape heavy rains upriver with most of the water receding quickly, though Imelda's damage had already been done.
Despite this devastating setback, we will undoubtedly continue to rebuild and overcome. The resilience of compassion and the willingness to help those in need are just a small fraction of the many qualities which make us Texans. The road ahead will be long and surely not without the inevitable potholes, and I'll continue to work alongside our local, state and federal partners to help in any way that I can. Please don't ever hesitate to reach out, enjoy the cooler days when they come, and God bless.
Texas Constitutional Amendments of 2019
The 86th Legislature passed 10 joint resolutions ([link removed]) proposing amendments to the state constitution, which will be on the election ballot for our voter approval on November 5, 2019. This e-newsletter serves as the first of three which will outline the 10 propositions.
Comments in support or opposition of these amendments reflect the positions that were presented in committee proceedings, during house or senate floor debates, or prepared by the House Research Organization ([link removed]) when the resolution was considered.
We hope these analyses will help you in determining how you will vote this November. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, please do not hesitate to contact our office!
Propositions 1-4 (of 10)
The constitutional amendment permitting a person to hold more than one office as a municipal judge at the same time.
The short: The Texas Constitution generally prohibits a person from holding more than one paid public office at the same time, but currently there are exceptions for some appointed offices. Amendment 1 would allow elected or appointed municipal judges to hold more than one office at the same time, and may also make it easier to fill offices in rural areas.
* A number of smaller municipalities lack individuals willing or qualified to serve as a municipal judge, which impedes the ability of these municipalities to deal with cases such as ordinance violations and fine-only misdemeanors. Although current law allows appointed municipal judges to serve more than one municipality, this authority does not extend to elected judges.
* This amendment would make it easier to fill that office in smaller municipalities, improving public safety and producing a more fair and balanced judicial system.
* Allowing a person to hold elected office as a municipal judge in multiple municipalities could lead to said judges not being able to dedicate an adequate amount of attention to local concerns in a given municipality.
The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $200 million to provide financial assistance for the development of certain projects in economically distressed areas.
The short: Amendment 2 would allow the Texas Water Development Board to issue bonds not to exceed $200 million in total principal to be used to provide financial assistance for the development of water supply and sewer service projects in economically distressed areas which do not meet minimum state standards.
* EDAP administered by the Texas Water Development Board is an essential program that needs additional funding, and without this funding, the ability of the board to continue funding existing projects and support future ones for communities that could not otherwise afford to secure access to safer water would be jeopardized.
* The high costs associated with maintaining and expanding water infrastructure in Texas are best financed through the issuance of bonds, as this will allow for greater and more reliable long-term funding.
* In certain areas, a lack of adequate sewer services has led to raw sewage runoff, overflowing septic systems, and public health problems, and that EDAP is a key tool for the state to attempt to address these issues and ensure that all Texans have basic water and sewer services.
* A reliable, sustained funding source for the EDAP incentivizes economic development, investment, and job growth.
* The state should not constitutionally dedicate funds to specific programs. Any necessary infrastructure improvements should be funded using general revenue.
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster.
The short: Amendment 3 would allow for temporarily lowered tax rates on property damaged during a disaster declared by the governor, based on the extent of damage.
* Providing a temporary tax exemption for property damaged by a disaster is a cheaper, simpler, and more easily administrable method of providing property tax relief to those suffering the aftereffects of a disaster than the current method of reappraisal.
* A tax exemption will provide property tax relief in a more expeditious manner than reappraisal of the property.
* The current method of reappraisal is optional. The proposed tax exemption will provide tax relief that homeowners and businesses can count on and will afford those suffering after a disaster much-needed peace of mind.
* Introducing yet another property tax exemption into state law could end up depriving local governments of adequate levels of funding.
* Amending the constitution to provide for a tax exemption for damaged property is unnecessary, as the existing method of reappraisal of damaged property following a disaster provides a sufficient mechanism to address the need of disaster victims for temporary property tax relief.
The constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an individual income tax, including a tax on an individual's share of partnership and unincorporated association income.
The short: Amendment 4 would virtually ban the state from forcing an income tax on individuals. Voting "YES" would mean you DO NOT want a state income tax.
* Many voters believe that the Texas Constitution already prohibits a state personal income tax, but the constitution only imposes certain restrictions, including voter approval, on any potential personal income tax. H.J.R. 38 would provide a clear prohibition.
* The absence of a state personal income tax is part of the business-friendly climate that attracts people and businesses to Texas and is a contributing factor to the state's recent economic success.
* The experience of other states suggests that a personal income tax tends to hinder economic development, wage growth, and prosperity while creating a large governmental bureaucracy to administer the tax.
* H.J.R. 38 would make it more difficult to impose a state personal income tax in the future because a two-thirds vote of each chamber of the legislature is required to amend the constitution.
* Constitutionally prohibiting a state personal income tax would unnecessarily block a future revenue option that is less regressive than current taxes. Revenue from a personal income tax could be used to help alleviate the state's property tax and school finance problems and could reduce the tax burden on Texas businesses.
* The existing constitutional restrictions, including voter approval, already make it difficult to impose a personal income tax. Those restrictions combined with the standard legislative process provide an adequate safeguard against a potential tax that is not supported by Texas voters.
* The proposed amendment's reference to a tax on "individuals" rather than on "natural persons" could have unintended consequences by being interpreted to limit the application of the state franchise tax to certain business entities.
Note to subscribers: The Texas Legislative Council, a source of impartial research and information, has made background information and analysis regarding constitutional amendments available for public use, and we are thankful for their support. The full publication may be found at: [link removed].
This marks the 21st year of the Texas High School Aerospace Scholars (HAS), a program offered to high school juniors across the state, and we want the students of HD 18 to be represented!
The HAS program offers a one-of-a-kind experience for Texas high school students to explore the possibilities of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related major or career. The adventure starts this fall with an online course and culminates - for students who earn the opportunity - with a FREE onsite summer experience at NASA's Johnson Space Center.
Students may apply for this program through October 23, 2019.
Complete an online application here:
We have seen the positive impacts of this program, with HAS students going on to receive degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields before joining the Texas hi-tech workforce – including NASA. If you would like additional information, you may also visit the NASA website ([link removed]) .
Election Day is Tuesday, November 5th, 2019
Early voting will take place October 21 - November 1
Please visit the
Liberty ([link removed]) , San Jacinto ([link removed]) , or Walker ([link removed]) County Clerk's websites
for more information on when and where to vote.
If you are unsure of your voter registration status, or want to find out how to register to vote, please visit
www.VoteTexas.gov, a Texas Secretary of State resource.
The last day to apply for a ballot by mail (received not Postmarked),
is Friday, October 25th, 2019.
Texas Comptroller Announces Record $308 Million in Unclaimed Property Returned in Fiscal 2019
In a press release, the Comptroller's office announced they have returned more than $3 billion in unclaimed property to rightful owners since Texas' unclaimed property program began in 1962. The state is currently holding more than $5 billion in cash and other valuables through the program.
The $308 million in unclaimed property returned in fiscal 2019 includes forgotten utility deposits or other refunds, insurance proceeds, payroll checks, cashier's checks, dividends, mineral royalties, dormant bank accounts and abandoned safe-deposit box contents. Businesses generally turn property over to the unclaimed property program after it has been considered dormant for one to five years.
There is no statute of limitations for unclaimed property the state holds, which means there's no time limit for owners to file a claim--they can do so at any time.
For more information about the unclaimed property program, or to search for unclaimed property and begin the claims process, visit the Comptroller's unclaimed property website,
ClaimItTexas.org ([link removed]) , or call (800)321-2274 (CASH).
Hurricane Season Preparation
(information below from a previous newsletter)
The Texas Department of Public Safety suggests several measures residents can take to prepare for future storms:
* Assemble an emergency kit that includes essential documents, supplies and provisions
* Review hurricane evacuation maps, and select a route for you and your family
* Plan how all family members and pets will evacuate safely
* Consider any special needs for individuals with disabilities or the elderly
* Follow the instructions of local officials if a storm develops
* Stay informed about changing weather conditions in and around your area, and sign up for alerts here ([link removed]) .
For more information about hurricanes and how to prepare for next hurricane season, visit the Texas Division of Emergency Management ([link removed]) website and the Texas Ready ([link removed]) website.
You may also find out more about hurricane preparedness on the
National Weather Service ([link removed]) website, or via this South Texas Hurricane Guide ([link removed]) .
Around the District
Photos From Top to Bottom: 1) Battle of the Pineywoods 2) FNLB Customer Appreciation Day 3) San Jacinto County Fair Parade 4) River Ranch Ground Breaking Ceremony 5) First Responders Appreciation Dinner in Daisetta 6) Faith Leaders Coalition Luncheon with Congressman Brady
District Office: 936-628-6687
10501 Hwy 150, Suite B
Shepherd, TX 77371
P.O. Box 1116
Shepherd, TX 77371
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Capitol Office: 512-463-0056
1100 Congress Avenue, E2.812
Austin, TX 78701
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
(Satellite Offices in Huntsville and Liberty)
Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 1116 Shepherd, TX 77371
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State Representative Ernest Bailes . P.O. Box 2910 . Austin, Tx 78768 . USA
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