Capitol Comments November 6, 2017

November 6, 2017
VOLUME III, ISSUE 28
Dear Friend,

During the past month, momentous change has occurred in the Texas House. The Speaker of the House, Joe Straus, has decided to retire after five terms as Speaker. We have also been grappling with the aftermath of Harvey. I have been out and about at many events in my district as well, listening to constituents and hearing your opinions.

Read on to learn about the goings-on in House District 65 and at the Capitol during the past month. You can also find information about events going on during the upcoming holiday season. 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

Interim Charges

The Texas House released a list of interim charges for House committees to take up and study throughout the interim.  Interim charges highlight issues that should receive study and discussion ahead of the upcoming legislative session; each committee will study each assigned charge and report back to the legislature with recommendations before the session begins in January 2019.  In total, the House issued more than 230 interim charges; in light of Hurricane Harvey, almost every House Committee has received at least one interim charge related to Hurricane Harvey and disaster relief efforts. The work done by these committees throughout the legislative interim will help guarantee that we remain conservative stewards of our state resources and that we are meeting the needs of our State’s robust private sector.  A full list of the House interim charges, sorted alphabetically by committee, can be found here: http://www.house.state.tx.us/_media/pdf/interim-charges-85th.pdf.

I look forward to working on the interim charges for the committees I serve on, the House Committee on Appropriations and the House Committee on Transportation.

Hurricane Harvey 
Leadership in the Texas Legislature has been hard at work since Hurricane Harvey devastated much of the Texas coast.  The House Committee on Appropriations met in Houston on October 2 to analyze and discuss the use of federal funds by state agencies in responding to emergency situations during Harvey and recovery efforts following the storm.  Additionally, we explored various opportunities the State and local governments can leverage to maximize the effective use of federal and state funds.  State funding was critical in the immediate short term following the storm to aid in flood mitigation, debris removal, and the rebuilding of utility infrastructure.  Over the long term, the State will shift its focus from funding immediate emergency management needs to funding long term recovery efforts such as the rebuilding and remodeling of homes, the rebuilding and repairing of critical infrastructure, and the construction of new flood mitigation projects.  The long term-cost will indeed be significant.  To date, Congress has approved close to $30 billion in emergency spending authority related to Hurricane Harvey.  On Tuesday October 17th, Governor Abbott presented the federal government with a request for up to $61 billion in funding – the funding would be used for rebuilding roads, public facilities, schools, and major flood prevention infrastructure projects.   Recovery activities related to Hurricane Harvey continue to be a tremendous effort and one that I expect will take years; rest assured the legislature continues to remain engaged in recovery efforts throughout the process with a primary focus on preventing affected Texans from slipping into poverty, losing personal assets, or becoming homeless as a result of the storm.
Speaker’s Race
On October 25, after serving as Speaker of the House for ten years and five legislative sessions, Speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus announced that he would not seek re-election for his House seat in the 2018 election.  The announcement was unexpected and has served as the source of much speculation regarding the future management of Texas’ House of Representatives.  Thus far, two of my Republican legislative colleagues, Representative Phil King and Representative John Zerwas, have announced and filed for their intention to run for Speaker of the House in the 86th Legislative Session.  While I’m sure that more are actively considering making the run for Speaker and more will certainly file for the race between now and session, it is important to remember that the next legislative session remains 14 months away.  In the meantime, my efforts concerning the House Speaker race remain focused on working within the House Republican Caucus to ensure that the Republican Caucus selects and unanimously supports a Republican Speaker candidate.  I believe this to be the best method in guaranteeing that House leadership is the most representative of Texas and our constituents.  A committee formed by the Republican Caucus recently issued recommendations to the full Caucus on processes and mechanisms that could serve to nominate a Republican Speaker candidate; I look forward to working with my Republican colleagues in continuing the work necessary to implement these procedures.

DISTRICT NEWS

Local Student Paints HD 65 Christmas Ornament

Each year for Christmas each state Representative is given a clear glass ball for them to decorate or have decorated in any way they wish to represent their district on the official House of Representatives Christmas tree which is set up in the center of the House floor. This year Natalie Buchanan of Creekview High School did an amazing job painting our ornament with scenes from Old Town Carrollton. I want to thank Natalie for her hard work and amazing talent – be sure to check the ornament out on the House tree in the Capitol if you are in Austin during the holiday season!

Senior Source Legislative Update

Our older citizens are among our most cherished and also the most vulnerable among us. I gave a legislative update this past month to the good folks at the Senior Source about accomplishments we had made in this past legislative session.

LISD To Honor Veterans

Each Veterans Day, schools across Lewisville ISD proudly recognize the men and women who bravely served our country in the United States Armed Forces. This year many LISD campuses are opening their doors and welcoming veterans at their Veterans Day ceremonies. While all LISD campuses observe Veterans Day in some way, many campuses are holding public events and want to extend an invitation for veterans to attend. A complete list of LISD campuses set to host community Veterans Day celebrations either Nov. 9 or 10 can be found at lisd.net. I am proud to honor our veterans, and myself and my staff will be travelling the district to celebrate with our honored warriors past and present this Veterans Day.
Carrollton Thanksgiving Food Drive
For the sixth year in a row, Joe’s Pizza in Carrollton will be feeding the less fortunate on Thanksgiving Day. You can help by donating supplies like canned corn, green beans, cranberry sauce, boxed potato flakes or frozen turkeys at 1904 E. Beltline Rd. in Carrollton anytime from 10 AM to 9:00 PM Monday through Saturday.

Holiday Events in HD 65

The holiday season is here once again! Many exciting events are happening to celebrate in House District 65, and we have compiled a few of them below.

Lewisville Old Town Holiday Stroll – November 18, 2017, 5:00 PM
An Old Fashioned Carrollton Christmas – December 1, 2017, 6:00 PM
Carrollton’s Santa on the Square – December 2, 2017, 8:30 AM
Lewisville Christmas Parade – December 2, 2017, 12:30 PM
Carrollton Snow Globe – December 9, 2017, 11:00 AM
Brookhaven Bell Choir – December 9, 2017, 3:00 PM
Lewisville Christmas at the Cabin – December 16, 2017, 10:00 AM
Harry Potter Yule Ball – December 29, 2017, 6:30 PM

Highland Village Ranks #5 in Texas Towns Study

A recent study evaluated economic levels of Texas residents in 340 cities and towns, and Highland Village ranked number 5! Zippia, a website that provides career advice, studied the median household income, poverty level and unemployment rate for 340 cities and towns across Texas, and ranked the top 100 most successful.

Metrocrest Chamber Legislative Update

I had the pleasure of giving the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce a legislative update this month on the 85th Regular and special sessions along with my friends and colleagues Senator Don Huffines and Representative Matt Rinaldi.