Upon taking the oath of office, Texas Governor Rick Perry moved quickly to declare five initiatives as emergency items for this session. The Governor’s action is significant, as state lawmakers are constitutionally not permitted to vote on legislation during the first 60 days of a session unless the legislation’s intent is designated as an emergency item. These five items will now be taken up at the beginning of session prior to being consumed with crafting our state budget and redrawing our congressional and legislative districts. Here is a look at the five items that Governor Perry wants the Legislature to address immediately:
Ending the practice of sanctuary cities that do not allow resources to be used to enforce federal immigration laws, continues to be a top priority for our Governor, and one that he intends for the legislature to address quickly. I support ending sanctuary cities in Texas as part of a comprehensive approach to immigration reform and I look forward to the debate.
Proof of identification to vote in public elections was also designated by Governor Perry as an emergency item. I am happy to report that the State Senate has already passed a voter identification bill for the Texas House to now consider. I have always been supportive of voter identification legislation and was especially convinced of its need in Texas after the State Auditor concluded in 2007 that nearly 50,000 individuals were likely unlawfully registered to vote in Texas, many of which were deceased. Thanks in part to the quick start that the Governor extended to the legislature, Texas lawmakers are now well on our way to joining other states in passing this key piece of legislation.
Governor Perry has also placed legislation expressing Texas’ desire for a balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution on this session’s fast track and it is joined by another critical issue, reforming eminent domain. These initiatives are very important to Texas and they will have my full support.
Finally, our Governor has placed on the emergency items list legislation that would require a woman seeking an abortion to first view a sonogram of her unborn child prior to being able to proceed. This would be an invaluable tool for reducing the number of abortions in Texas and promoting a culture of life.
Like many of you, I am excited to see that these key areas of public policy will be addressed at the forefront of this legislative session. What lawmakers do over the next 140 days will have a lasting impact on Texas and I am glad that our Governor has charted the right course. As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Texas House of Representatives. Please feel free to contact me at my district office at 972.724.8477 or by e-mail at [email protected] if I can ever be of service.