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Capitol Update 02/27/15

We are beginning to debate some bills and some big ideas in Austin as we get into the thick of the legislative session.  This week we saw details on plans for tax cuts and transportation funding.


Senator Robert Nichols has filed legislation, which was voted out of the Senate Transportation Committee this week, that would dedicate $2.5 billion generated by  vehicle sales taxes to transportation funding.  If this is the measure that the legislature passes, you would be asked to vote on this idea as a constitutional amendment. 


On the tax cut front, we began to see firm ideas rather than just big numbers being thrown around.  The House and Senate are settling on a total number of approximately $4.5 billion in tax cuts.  This will be split between business tax reductions and property tax reductions.


This week I was appointed to the Subcommittee on Long-Term Transportation Planning and Infrastructure.  This committee will consider matters pertaining to the transportation needs of the state during the next 10 years and funding mechanisms to provide for those needs.  It is important that East Texas be represented in the discussion of our state's transportation future.


Also this week, I filed Kari's law, which will require that businesses and hotels have telephone systems that allow users to dial 911 without having to first dial out.  The necessity of this bill is borne of the tragic death of Kari Dunn at a Marshall hotel in which her young daughter was unable to call for help because she did not know to dial '9' to call out of the hotel.  I am looking forward to ensuring Kari's legacy with this important legislation.


As always, if you have any ideas for legislation or any comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at 512-463-0556 or


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