(This is the first of a two-part series.)
A special forum hosted by Cooke County Young Republicans allowed House District 68 Rep. Drew Springer [R-Muenster] to provide updates on his legislative actions since January.
Springer authored or co-authored more than 120 bills during regular and special sessions of the 83 Legislature, some of them minor and some of them related to agriculture and land and resource management on a statewide basis.
The representative’s territory spans 21 counties and some 20,000 square miles, and he said he joined two special committees in helping draft laws.
“We protected a lot of things, more than we did create new items,” Springer said Saturday. “There were a few folks who tried to come in and change agriculture.”
Springer also said Saturday that some of his new bills specialize in setting boundaries for large Texas cities such as Austin, Houston and San Antonio, whose municipalities, he said, tend to set laws that become trends followed by smaller towns.
“Cities cannot act like their own states,” he said. “We’ve got all these individual freedoms and we’ve got to protect those. If we start letting every city act like its own state, they’ll pass a lot of stuff and we’ll end up looking like California or New York and we’ll have all these problems.”
A full list of Springer’s bills are available at www.legis.state.tx.us. Some of his proposed House of Representative and Texas Senate bills are provided below. (Courtesy of the Texas Legislature website.)
HB 2514 — Gives school districts in rural areas the more flexibility with their school start date. Many schools in rural areas have struggled with the late school start date because it significantly shortens the classroom time in the fall, a time very important to agriculture and the rural way of life.
HB 2516 — Ensures that fines collected for burn violations be returned to the county of offense to be distributed by the commissioner's court to local volunteer fire departments. This will keep the money collected local and ensure it is being used for the purpose most believe it is intended to go to.
HB 2517 — Requires citizens to give notification before starting a controlled burn. This will save fire departments valuable time and resources by eliminating redundant trips when people call in smoke. If the department knows a fire is authorized in the area, they are able to tell without making a physical trip to the location.
HB 2518 — Eliminates an unfunded mandate on counties by lowering the minimum compensation for jurors to the amount of funding the state provides. This will supposedly save counties $6 per juror, per day, a sum that will add up over time.
HB 2519 — Takes away an unfunded mandate on counties by changing the requirement of establishing a library to an option of establishing one.
HB 2521 — Allows a local economic development committee to develop plans that positively impact the middle class in a civic area while still allowing for low-income housing development.
HB 2522 — Changes the Historically Underutilized Business program to reflect the shifting demographics in the State of Texas. This bill will level the playing field for all businesses, regardless of the race of the owner, to compete for state contracts.
HB 698 — Makes it easier for citizens in rural areas to receive their concealed handgun licenses by requiring the Department of Public Safety to establish an alternative method of fingerprinting for citizens that live more than 25 miles from an authorized provider.
HB 1568 — Eliminates the healthcare funding for any school districts that offer insurance or other benefits to a person not a district employee or a spouse or child of a district employee.
(This is the first of a two-part series.)
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