FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 10, 2014
(512) 463-0120 office
AUSTIN, TX — Today, Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa filed 14 senate bills on the first day of the 84th Texas Legislature pre-filing period. Senator Hinojosa's early round of bills focus on jobs, public health and safety, civil liberties, criminal justice, and fiscal accountability. The 84th Texas Legislature will convene January 13, 2015. The last day to file legislation for the 84th Legislature is March 13, 2015.
Senator Hinojosa issued a statement on each of the 14 bills pre-filed today:
1. Senate Bill 66 - Relating to maintaining a supply of anaphylaxis medicine on public and open-enrollment charter school campuses and providing training to school employees concerning recognition of anaphylactic reactions and administration of anaphylaxis medicine.
"Anaphylaxis is a sudden, severe, and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. This legislation will require that Epi-Pens used to treat anaphylaxis are stocked in all public and open-enrollment charter schools, and that these schools have on-campus staff who are prepared to administer them in case of an emergency. The safety and well-being of our students is of the utmost importance, and S.B. 66 will ensure that schools have the training and equipment necessary to care for them in the event of severe allergic reactions."
2. Senate Bill 94 - Relating to certain fees charged for adjudication of claims under health benefit plans.
“S.B. 94 is critical legislation for all pharmacists statewide who continue to lose money from Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) who contract with health benefit plans (HMOs) to process prescription claims for pharmacists. PBMs continue to find loopholes in current law that prohibits HMOs from charging fees for adjudication of a claim. A PBM works on behalf of an HMO and should not be allowed to be unjustly enriched at the expense of our Texas pharmacies and our citizens.”
3. Senate Bill 95 - Relating to the state's burden of proof in certain criminal asset forfeiture proceedings.
"S.B. 95 raises the burden of proof from a preponderance of evidence to a clear and convincing standard the state must prove in asset forfeiture cases. This legislation is an important protection for Texans' property rights and civil liberties. The heightened legal burden placed on the state will not interfere with our law enforcement agencies' ability to do their jobs, and will uphold property rights."
4. Senate Bill 96 - Relating to a prohibition on the use and possession of vapor products on school property.
"S.B. 96 will ban e-cigarettes on school property. E-cigarettes, just like regular cigarettes and tobacco products, do not belong in classrooms or on school property. Recognizing that e-cigarettes are an adult product and not appropriate for students or the classroom, many school districts across the country and Texas have already taken the lead and banned these products on school property."
5. Senate Bill 97 - Relating to regulation of the sale, distribution, possession, use, and advertising of vapor products; authorizing a fee; creating offenses.
"Many Texas cities have already banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors because of the potentially harmful health consequences and the habit-forming and addictive nature of e-cigarettes. In A 2012 study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 1.78 million middle and high school students nationwide experimented with e-cigarettes. What was once seen as an alternative to help smokers quit, is now seen as a gateway product for minors. S.B. 97 will prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and regulate vapor products consistent with current cigarette and tobacco laws."
6. Senate Bill 98 - Relating to authorizing a marriage between two persons of the same sex in this state and repealing the statutory prohibition against the recognition of a civil union or similar relationship entered into in another state between two persons of the same sex.
"All Texas couples should be allowed the freedom to marry, build a family, care for those they love, and be treated with dignity and respect. We are all equals -- each of us only wanting to take care of our families and our children. We cannot deny someone that right. S.B. 98 repeals the prohibition on same-sex marriage and provides for marriage equality."
7. Senate Bill 99 - Relating to the supervised reentry into the community of certain inmates nearing their date of discharge from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
"This legislation allows certain parole-eligible offenders to be released to a supervised reentry program after serving 90 percent of their sentence or one year from their discharge date. Requiring community supervision towards the end of certain offenders' sentences have been shown to reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and produce cost-savings for the state."
8. Senate Bill 100 - Relating to the Enterprise Zone Program.
"This legislation is about creating opportunity for Texans in economically distressed communities through the creation of new jobs and new investment. S.B. 100 makes changes to the Enterprise Zone Program by promoting projects that create new jobs, maintaining incentives for job retention, incentives the hiring of veterans, opens up the program to small businesses, and allows more flexibility between counties and cities nominating enterprise zone projects."
9. Senate Joint Resolution 7 - Proposing a constitutional amendment excepting certain appropriations for reducing state debt from the constitutional limitation on the rate of growth of appropriations.
"In the past 10 years our state and local debt has skyrocketed. As responsible stewards of taxpayer's dollars we need to rein in our dependence on debt and begin to get serious about paying off our current outstanding debt. However, Texas' Constitutional Spending Limit (CSL) ties our hands on our ability to pay-down our debt when we have healthy General Revenue balances and a strong Rainy Day Fund. This legislation will empower the Legislature to be conservative fiscal stewards of taxpayer dollars by having the flexibility to paying-down more of our state debt when we can."
10. Senate Bill 101 - Relating to excepting certain appropriations from computations regarding the constitutional limitation on the rate of growth of appropriations.
[This is the enabling legislation required for Senate Joint Resolution 7 (above).]
11. Senate Bill 102 - Relating to ballot propositions authorizing political subdivisions to issue bonds.
"According to the Texas Bond Review Board, the debt service outstanding (principal plus interest) by all local governments in Texas totaled $200.2 billion. On a per capita basis, that amounts to $12,500 owed per Texan. Arming Texans with basic financial information at the voting booth can help voters properly weigh the merits of increasing local debt. S.B. 102 will require certain financial information be provided for each bond proposition to voters at the ballot box."
12. Senate Bill 103 - Relating to the issuance of certain capital appreciation bonds by political subdivisions.
"Transparency and accountability are the best tools we have for decreasing our local debt. In recent years, our school districts and local governments have increasingly turned to capital appreciation bonds, or CABs, as a solution to fund much-needed development. However, CABs push payments far into the future resulting in enormous local debt. S.B. 103 prohibits Texas local governments from issuing these bonds that place an undue burden on our children simply to pay for the immediate needs that could be financed differently."
13. Senate Bill 104 - Relating to the age of criminal responsibility and to certain substantive and procedural matters related to that age.
"S.B. 104 will raise the age for criminal responsibility and other related procedural matters from 17 to 18 years old. Keeping 17 year-olds in the juvenile justice system instead of sending them to an adult prison, has been shown to produce better outcomes by providing age-appropriate services and intervention critical for youth rehabilitation."
14. Senate Bill 132 - Relating to the creation of a Texas resident driver's permit, provisional Texas resident driver's permit, and Texas resident driver's instruction permit; creating an offense.
"Currently millions of Texas workers cannot obtain a driver's permit and insure their vehicles because of their citizenship status. These workers drive vehicles on Texas roads every day. These uninsured and unlicensed drivers present public safety concerns and liability issues for other drivers. S.B. 132 will allow certain Texas residents to obtain a driver's permit so that they too can be responsible drivers."