By State Rep. Tan Parker
Every September following a regular legislative session hundreds of new laws authored by your Texas House and Senate take effect. These new laws touch a wide range of topics, and earlier this summer I shared with you the overall highlights of this past session. I am proud of the comprehensive work product put forth by my colleagues and I, but now I would like to share with you some of the new laws I personally authored that have recently taken effect.
The delivery of public services is a core function of government, and was also a major component of my legislative agenda. House Bill 3014 will bring “Pay for Success” contracting to Texas so that we can structure certain outsourcing agreements in a manner that awards compensation to the service provider only after the successful delivery of the public service. This approach will both protect taxpayers and foster innovation in product and service quality across state government. I also authored House Bill 2718 to allow individuals applying for public assistance to opt-in to being put in contact with local charitable and faith-based service organizations. Part of Governor Abbott’s Blueprint for Success, this bill will achieve the long awaited partnering of government and faith-based organizations in providing comprehensive assistance to those truly in need through immediate aid and helping the individual build for a brighter future.
Improving the well-being of homeless children has been a strong passion I have carried since I began to work with local advocacy groups several years ago. That is why I authored two new laws on this topic. In order to create more opportunities for temporary safe housing, House Bill 1558 will unlock the hands of churches so that they can provide critical overnight shelter to homeless children. Likewise, House Bill 1559 will require public schools to make a full list of local assistance programs for homeless children available on their websites so that these children will have a better understanding of the opportunities available to them.
Sadly, homeless children and human trafficking go hand in hand, and that is why I made certain that my bill package included meaningful reforms to combat this horrible crime and also help human trafficking victims move forward and live productive lives. House Bill 2291 aids in both endeavors by raising the penalties facing those who are repeat offenders of child pornography related crimes and sets forth the process by which victims of child pornography can be awarded restitution from their attackers. House Bill 2286 addresses the real problem of human trafficking victims facing roadblocks to their recovery by providing them with the opportunity to pursue non-disclosure orders on the prostitution convictions they acquired from being trafficked. With this important new law, our innocent children will be able to fully move past their imprisonment in this modern day form of slavery and not be denied housing or an employment or education opportunity because of the horrific acts they were forced to commit.
I also sponsored Senate Bill 461 to crack down on narcotics distributions by closing a labeling loophole that previously allowed synthetic drugs to be easily purchased at certain retail outlets. Having previously served as the Corrections Committee Chairman, I also saw a need to address the incarceration of inmates who suffer from intellectual disabilities. House Bill 2189 establishes the Developmentally Disabled Offender Program so that these inmates can receive the specific treatment and rehabilitation they need to manage their disability and successfully move beyond their past indiscretions.
Ride sharing services have revolutionized public transportation, yet outdated statutes and ordinances can sometimes limit their availability. That is why I sponsored Senate Bill 530, which was featured in a recent Dallas Morning News article for allowing these businesses to extend their services to DFW Airport customers. Additional new laws I had a hand in, such as ending a double taxation on Texas broadcasters and equipping the Texas Motor Speedway with the ability to stay competitive in attracting large scale events, rounded out my bill package in a manner consistent with our shared values and beliefs.
As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Texas House of Representatives, and I welcome your feedback on this and any other critical state issues. If you would like to share a thought with me, please feel free to contact me at my Capitol office at 512.463.0688 or by e-mail at [email protected]