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  LEGISLATIVE ALERT
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Capitol Report: Legislative Update

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TEXAS HOUSE

House Bill 161

Representative Lyle Larson

Relating to drug testing of certain persons seeking financial assistance benefits.

House Bill 535

Representative Yvonne Davis

Relating to the preference given by state agencies to goods offered by bidders in this state or manufactured, produced, or grown in this state or in the United States.  The Senate voted in favor with a vote of 23 to 7.  The Bill goes back to the House for a last vote and then will be sent to the Governor for his consideration. 

House Bill 689

Representative Marisa Marquez

Relating to the use of a photographic traffic enforcement system at a railroad crossing.

House Bill 1524

Representative Doc Anderson

Relating to election through secret ballot of a labor union as the exclusive bargaining representative.

House Bill 1878

Representative Ruth Jones McClendon

Relating to the allocation of certain revenue to the Texas rail relocation and improvement fund.

House Bill 1879

Representative Ruth Jones McClendon

Relating to funds dedicated to the Texas rail relocation and improvement fund.

House Bill 1880

Representative Ruth Jones McClendon

Relating to funds dedicated to the Texas rail relocation and improvement fund.

House Bill 1881

Representative Ruth  Jones McClendon

Relating to funds dedicated to the Texas rail relocation and improvement fund.

House Bill 1980

Representative Tan Parker

Relating to contributions by a corporation or labor organization from an employee or member that are used to assist a political committee; providing a criminal penalty.

House Bill 1985

Representative Ruth  Jones McClendon

Relating to the use of the state highway fund for rail relocation and improvement.

House Bill 2580

Representative Ruth  Jones McClendon

Relating to the authority of municipalities to create freight rail districts that have the powers of rural rail transportation districts; granting the power of eminent domain.

House Bill 3120

Representative Linda Harper-Brown

Relating to limiting the liability of certain transportation authorities and railroads for certain incidents involving the provision of public passenger rail services.

House Bill 3825

Representative Yvonne Davis

Relating to the composition of certain regional transportation authority subregional boards.

 

TEXAS SENATE

Senate Bill 335

Senator Jose Rodriguez

Relating to the use of a photographic traffic enforcement system at a railroad crossing.

Senate Bill 674

Senator Kel Seliger

Relating to election through secret ballot of a labor union as the exclusive bargaining representative.

Senate Bill 1333

Senator John Carona

Relating to the creation of the Cotton Belt Rail Improvement District; providing authority to impose an assessment and issue bonds.

 

Synopsis of 83rd Legislative Session

The 83rd Legislative Session has come and gone.  Although organized labor faced many obstacles, as well as surprises, legislation headed to the Governor’s office is for the most part, harmless.  In today’s times, that means victory.  Including Resolutions, there were 10,620 pieces of legislation filed in both chambers.  There were 3,950 House bills and 1,918 Senate bills filed.  Of those 5,868 bills, 5,324 passed both the House and the Senate.  As of May 28th, 316 bills have been signed by Governor Perry.  Two bills have been vetoed and four have been enacted without the Governor’s signature.

 

The two vetoed bills include HB 535, the “Buy American” bill, and SB 346, the bill aimed at forcing disclosure of so-called dark money.

 

HB 535 sponsored by Rep. Yvonne Davis, D-Dallas, and Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, would have established a preference for the purchase of Texas and American manufactured goods by the State of Texas when they are of equal cost and quality to foreign produced products.  ULLCO perceived this legislation as a common sense way to keep our tax revenue in Texas and in America, while also creating jobs.

HB 535 passed the Senate 23-7 and passed the House 145-0.

 

HB 4, a water development bill containing a strong “Buy American” provision, has been signed into law by Governor Rick Perry.  The measure establishes a preference for American iron, steel and manufactured products in contracts for water projects.  The preference for domestically produced items applies unless the products or goods are not available in sufficient quantities, are not readily available, are not of satisfactory quality or would cause an increase in the total cost of the project of more than 20 percent.

 

SB 346, sponsored by Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, and Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Ft. Worth, was aimed at shedding light on donations to 501(c) (4) non-profits that take part in political campaigns.  Proponents of the bill said that unions were organized under a separate section of the tax code and weren’t being targeted by SB 346.  Because of this, ULLCO remained neutral on the bill, although there were many attempts to strip the labor union language out of the bill. 

 

Although the 83rd Session will be remembered as one where lawmakers put down their partisan swords to expand financing for water infrastructure, women’s health, public education, and the mentally ill, while steering clear of bitter ideological battles over immigration enforcement and abortion, the special session could be the exact opposite.

 

So far, redistricting is the only item placed on the call for special session. This could have a major impact on friends of labor, in both the House and the Senate.

 

For a detailed analysis on these bills and/or any other legislation go to:  http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/

This is a summary of bills in which your legislative department watches daily.  We meet with ULLCO (United Legislative Labor Council), each morning, one hour prior to the Texas Legislature going into session.  ULLCO is a group of Texas AFL-CIO members from various Unions that work together for workers' rights and safety issues for all Texas union members.