This week, the legislators continued to work on the issues designated by the Governor in his expanded Call. In the House, committees met to take up and debate issues such as funding for the Teacher Retirement System’s health care plan, teacher salaries, a study on school finance, property taxes, and legislation prohibiting certain local ordinances from being imposed on property owners. Several bills pertaining to school finance and property taxes were passed out of committee and are expected to be taken up before the full House sometime next week.


This week the House passed three bills: HB 2, HB 7, and HB 13. HB 2 is a bill to ensure that a couple of state agencies that were subject to sunset legislation that did not pass during the regular session continue to receive state appropriations in the next fiscal biennium. These agencies were the Texas Medical Board and the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists.


HB 7 addresses one item on the governor’s call: “legislation protecting the private property rights of land owners from political subdivision rules, regulations, or ordinances that interfere with, delay, or restrict private property owners’ ability to use or enjoy their property.” HB 7 seeks to address part of this issue by requiring a municipality that imposes a tree mitigation fee to allow a person to apply for a credit for tree planting to offset the amount of the fee. Many areas across the state have ordinances that prohibit property owners from removing certain trees from their property unless the property owner receives a permit to do so and pays a mitigation fee. Critics of these ordinances contend that they violate private property rights.


HB 13 will increase the accuracy in reporting complications from abortions in the state of Texas. H.B. 13 seeks to improve the collection of such data by requiring certain physicians and health care facilities to submit an abortion complication report containing specified information to the Health and Human Services Commission. Proponents of this legislation contend that there is not currently enough data regarding complications that arise from abortions, and that this information is needed.


A few weeks ago I wrote a column regarding the Texas Armed Services Scholarship for college-bound students who will participate in the ROTC. If you or someone you know is interested in this scholarship, please contact my Austin office at 512-463-0297.


Larry Phillips of Sherman represents District 62 in the Texas House of Representatives. His telephone number in Sherman is 903-891-7297. His telephone number in Austin is 512-463-0297. His address in Austin is P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768-2910. His email address is larry.phillips@house.state.tx.us.