News Release
July 31, 2014
Contact: Sydni Mitchell
(512) 463-0103
My five cents...
A monthly column from Sen. Robert Nichols
by Sen. Robert Nichols, Senate District 3

As the beginning of the school year draws near, it's time to start thinking about back to school shopping. Timed to help families during back-to-school shopping, the annual sales tax holiday will provide customers the ability to buy clothing and school supplies priced under $100 without paying state or local taxes.

From August 8-10, you will have the opportunity to take advantage of this sales tax holiday. For more information on what products qualify, I encourage you to visit for more detailed information.

Here are five things happening around your state:

1. Senate Appointments

I was recently appointed by the Lieutenant Governor to two new committees, the Senate Finance Committee and the Legislative Audit Committee. The Senate Finance Committee is charged with writing the biennial budget for the State of Texas. As the only statutorily required legislation that must pass during a legislative session, I understand the importance of passing a balanced budget while limiting unnecessary spending.

The Legislative Audit Committee is jointly chaired by the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Other members include the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee and the Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. The committee is tasked with overseeing the State Auditor's Office and setting the annual schedule for audits of any entity that receives state funds.

2. Earthquakes

This past month, I held a meeting with the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) to discuss the recent earthquakes in the Timpson and Tenaha areas. Residents from around Shelby County were in attendance and were offered the opportunity to illustrate their personal experiences and ask questions of the RRC. Some of these concerns included costly property repairs caused by foundation damage, masonry damage, broken windows and more. Many voiced concerns over property values declining and worry they will not be able to sell their homes in the future.

I appreciate RRC Executive Director Milton Rister and newly hired Seismologist Dr. Craig Pearson for taking the time to meet with these residents. My hope is with the hiring of Dr. Pearson, the RRC will have additional resources to study and understand the causes of these earthquakes.

3. National Guard to the Border

Texas Governor Rick Perry recently announced the deployment of 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure the Texas-Mexico border. These troops will support the Texas Department of Public Safety's ongoing law enforcement surge, and is intended to replicate the success of Operation Strong Safety in the fall of last year.

I have personally visited the border to learn about the challenges our state law enforcement officers have in responding to the failures of the Federal government to secure our border. I recognize the need to use state resources for this operation and support the Governor's efforts to use the National Guard. However, it is ultimately the responsibility of the Federal government, not the tax payers of Texas. I encourage Governor Perry to pursue all options available to ensure Texas is reimbursed for this expense.

4. Down to One

Starting in March 2015, Texas drivers will have a little more room on the front window of their cars. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles announced that while drivers will still be required to have their cars inspected, they will only have one sticker for both their registration and inspection. Drivers will be required to submit their car for inspection no more than 90 days before they renew their car registration.

If your registration expires before your current inspection, you will still be allowed to register during the transition without an additional inspection. For example, if someone’s registration expires in May 2015 and their inspection tag expires in June 2015, they will not be required to get their car inspected until prior to renewing their registration in May 2016. If someone’s inspection sticker expires in May 2015 but their registration is up in June 2015, they will have to get an inspection before renewing their registration. For more information about these changes you can visit

5. The Battle of Nacogodoches

This month in 1832, a band of settlers in Nacogdoches attacked the town's Mexican garrison in answer to an order requiring Texans to surrender their weapons. While small in number, the Texas settlers defeated the Mexican troops and took back the town. Although the Battle of Nacogdoches is not well known, it freed East Texas from Mexican military rule, and to some historians, served as the starting point of the Texas Revolution.