Accomplishments

The following are a few highlights from his record of accomplishment:

Authored and passed legislation transferring Angelo State University to the Texas Tech System. This was the first time a higher education institution had been transferred to a different system.  The transfer has been very beneficial for both institutions and ASU has seen incredible growth under the Tech System. (80th Legislature – House Bill 3564)

Authored and passed legislation to raise penalties on those who steal from nonprofits or by Medicare providers praying on the elderly and disabled to raise the cost of healthcare. (81st Legislature – House Bill 671)
Authored and passed legislation protecting private property rights by prohibiting the imposing of private transfer fees, providing much-needed disclosure to existing private transfer fees for prospective buyers of real property and putting teeth into the prohibition for those who charge these fees to consumers in violation of the law. (82nd Legislature – House Bill 8)
Authored and passed legislation to crack down on meth production in the State of Texas by working with law enforcement and pharmacies to reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals that can be acquired by known criminal rings and drug cartels. (82nd Legislature – House Bill 1137)
Served as Subcommittee Chairman to House Appropriations Committee during the recession and economic downturn and responded by cutting appropriations by $15 billion to pass a balanced budget without raising taxes. (82nd Legislature – House Bill 1)
Authored and passed legislation eliminating over $100 million in fees paid by Texans on items such as electric bills, home insurance, trash collection, and propane. Since 1991, when those fees and taxes brought in more revenue than was needed to fund those programs the money just sat in an account to help balance the budget. This legislation stopped that for a number of fees by either eliminating them or reducing them to only what was appropriated, and does not stockpile taxpayer funds. (83rd Legislature – House Bill 7)
Served as Subcommittee Chairman to House Appropriations Committee and fought for greater transportation funding and was successful in ending many diversions of State Highway Fund that went to purposes other than road construction and maintenance. Also successful in getting $455 million to repair roads in the energy-production areas of the state, to be split between state and county roads, and joint authored Proposition 1 dedicating a portion of oil & gas severance taxes to road construction. (83rd Legislature – House Bill 1025, 83(3) – House Bill 1 and Senate Joint Resolution 1)
Coauthored legislation to help local communities implement the State Water Plan of Texas by allowing low cost loans to help keep water rates low but allow for water utilities to attain financing for projects that will grow capacity, conserve what we have, and improve the delivery of water for a growing state. Subsequently served on the first State Water Implementation Fund of Texas Advisory Committee which established the rules governing the program. (83rd Legislature – House Bill 4)
Coauthored legislation eliminating some of the high-stakes standardized testing in our schools, reducing the required number of End of Course exams from 15 to 5. It also made adjustments to our accountability system, and put forth a new path for graduation while maintaining rigor. (83rd Legislature – House Bill 5)
Authored and passed legislation as Chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, to implement fair maps for the House, Senate and Congressional lines in accordance with the United State Supreme Court and federal law. (83(1) – Senate Bills 2, 3, and 4)
Authored and passed legislation eliminating over $300 million in fees paid by Texans in the form of onerous professional fees, surcharges on diesel equipment, fees on gasoline, and Medical School tuition. The law also eliminated the Emerging Technology Fund and sped up funding for hospital trauma facilities. (84th Legislature – House Bill 7)
Authored and passed legislation to establish a telemedicine project in West Texas to increase the amount of care for trauma patients while reducing costs and travel time for patients who can be routed to close hospitals. (84th Legislature – House Bill 479, House Bill 2004)
Authored and passed legislation to protect the rights of homeowners to protest their property tax appraisal using the equal and uniform standard. The law sets out clear standards where there are currently none in statute to provide better clarity and consistency for taxpayers when protesting their property appraisal. (84th Legislature – House Bill 2083)
Authored and passed legislation to ensure Texan’s mineral property rights are not lost to the growth of municipal regulations. Through careful negotiations, a compromise agreement emerged between cities and the oil and gas industry to uphold ordinances that ensure minerals may still be produced while prohibiting outright bans on production. (84th Legislature – House Bill 40)
Authored and passed legislation as Chairman of the State & Federal Power & Responsibility Select- Committee rescinding all previous applications made by the Texas Legislature to the United States Congress to call a national convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for proposing any amendment to that Constitution. (85th Legislature – Senate Joint Resolution 38)
Authored and passed legislation to phase out and end the decades-long practice penalizing school districts under 300 square miles for not consolidating. (85(1) – House Bill 21)
Joint authored legislation to uphold the state’s obligation to its retired teachers to decrease participants’ health insurance costs for health benefit plans administered by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. (85(1) – House Bill 20)