Capitol Comments September 5, 2017

September 5, 2017
VOLUME III, ISSUE 26
Dear Friend,

As you’ve no doubt witnessed over the past week, Hurricane Harvey has had a lasting effect on our fellow Texans along the Gulf Coast.  An outpouring of support has come in from all over the state to assist our brothers and sisters south of us.

Denton County played its part as I joined fellow Denton County State Representatives Tan Parker, Pat Fallon, and Lynn Stucky in organizing a supply drive to assist the victims and first responders of Hurricane Harvey.  Multiple trucks were filled with supplies to send down to the victims in Southeast Texas.

Read on to learn about the bills that went into effect this past Friday, as well as news from House District 65.  My office will keep you informed  on my House website, Facebook, or Twitter. It is an honor representing you.

In addition, in order to continue my work and keep standing for your conservative values down in Austin I must be re-elected. If you could assist my campaign by contributing $25, $50, $75, or even $100 by clicking here it would help immensely. Or you can always send a check made out to Ron Simmons Campaign and sent to P.O. Box 117567, Carrollton, TX 75011.

Best regards,
Ron Simmons
State Representative
House District 65

CAPITOL NEWS

Many Bills Went Into Effect September 1, 2017
A majority of the bills passed during the 85th Legislative Session went into effect this past Friday, the start of the new fiscal year for the state.  While some of the most impactful bills are listed below, you can find a full list here: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/Reports/Report.aspx?LegSess=85R&ID=effectivesept1

•    HB 62 – House Bill 62 stipulates that reading, writing, or sending an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle is illegal unless the motor vehicle is stopped.  Drivers who are caught texting while driving will face a fine between $25 and $99 for their first offense and a fine between $100 and $200 for any subsequent offenses.  HB 62 does not preempt any existing local statutes or ordinances related to texting while driving.

•    HB 2908 – House Bill 2908 affirms Texas’ commitment to do all that we can to support our law enforcement.  HB 2908 classifies an attack on a police officer or judge as a hate crime and increases the penalty associated with making terroristic threats towards peace officers from a misdemeanor to a state jail felony.

•    HB 300 – House Bill 300 reduces the fee required to obtain a License to Carry a handgun in the State of Texas.  Currently, Texans must pay $140 to obtain their License to Carry after completing a firearms safety instruction course.  Beginning September 1, 2017 that fee will be set at $40, the lowest in the United States.

•    SB 179 – Under Senate Bill 179, people who engage in targeting others online and engage in cyberbullying could be charged with misdemeanors.  Additionally, SB 179 allows school districts and education officials intervene in cyberbullying cases and allows victims of cyberbullying to potentially recover civil damages from the bully’s parents.

•    HB 1935 – House Bill 1935 ensures that every Texan has the right to carry a knife regardless of the knifes’ length.  Under previous law, Texans were limited to carrying knives that are 5.5 inches or shorter; that limitation will no longer apply beginning September 1.  The carrying of such knives will still be illegal when visiting schools, hospitals, places of worship, sporting events, amusement parks, bars, or prisons.

•    SB 7 – Senate Bill 7 addresses the growing number of cases in Texas involving inappropriate relationships between students and educators.  The bill ensures that teachers engaging in inappropriate relationships with students, and administrators who are aware these situations, are held criminally responsible for their actions.  Additionally, educators who are convicted of engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a student will lose their state funded pension.

DISTRICT NEWS

Lady Hawks Eye Third Consecutive State Championship

The title defense for Hebron’s volleyball team is underway. The Lady Hawks are out for a third consecutive state title and are seeking to become the first team in the largest classification to complete the feat since Amarillo claimed four in a row from 2006-09. Hebron has big shoes to fill after graduating last year’s Gatorade Texas Volleyball Player of the Year and Oregon State signee Kylee McLaughlin and other key pieces, but many members of last year’s squad will be back on the court. Leading the way is senior outside hitter Adanna Rollins, who was named MVP of the state championship match last season. We look forward to cheering them on!

Simmons District Director Deployed to Help Harvey Relief

Not only have we served as a drop off point in my District Office for Harvey relief supplies, but my own District Director, Ebony Wilson, has been activated as a member of the Texas National Guard and is deployed helping assist the relief efforts. Thanks to Ebony and the entire Guard for your service!

National Association for Mental Illness to Host Carrollton Event

A NAMI course, Peer-to-Peer, will be offered for the first time in Denton County and will be hosted by Carrollton Springs Hospital at 2225 Parker Road in Carrollton. The 10 sessions of Peer-to-Peer will be held at 2-4 p.m. Saturdays, beginning Sept. 9. Taught by a team of trained Peer Mentors who are living in recovery, the Peer-to-Peer class will include information about mental health conditions and their biological aspects; treatment and recovery considerations; problem-solving and finding local resources, and personalized relapse prevention plans.For more information and to enroll, contact generalinfo@namidenton.org or call 469-248-8789.

Lewisville Helps Harvey Victims

As the Texas Gulf Coast region copes with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, with its resulting flooding and devastation, first responders from across the state have gone to the region to assist.  By Wednesday morning, Lewisville had 15 firefighters and five vehicles deployed to the area. While locals left for the region to help, Lewisville has absorbed at least 400 evacuees, who are staying at local hotels.