AUSTIN, TX - The 86th Legislature adjourned sine die on Monday, May 27th, marking the end of a successful session for the state of Texas. Representative Ernest Bailes of HD 18 was able pass meaningful legislation for his district, as well as help facilitate the passage of the state's major priorities, including school finance and property tax reform.
"I am thankful for the progress we have made this session, and I'm ready to get back to the district to continue working with the constituents of HD 18 to build on what we've accomplished this year. There's never a shortage of work to be done," Bailes said.
At the top of the priority list for the House was the need to improve the states system of paying for public education. With the passage of HB 3, the basic allotment per student was significantly increased, over $5 billion was provided in statewide property tax relief, and recapture payments were reduced by 47%, or an astounding $3.6 billion.
Retired teachers were not forgotten with the passage of HB 1 and SB 500, which will provide a 13th check as well as make TRS actuarially sound. "It's not a secret I have a family full of educators, and I answer to them when I come home each session," Bailes said of the need for transformative education reform in Texas. For more on HB 3, go to www.thetexasplan.com.
The property tax system was addressed in SB 2, increasing transparency by providing more accessible information to property owners, and lowering the voter approval rate for most taxing units to 3.5%. This bill will work in tandem with the "Texas Plan" for school finance to provide billions of dollars in property tax relief.
Representative Bailes also passed, sponsored, and supported many other key pieces of legislation, including but not limited to:
HB 5, requiring TDEM (Texas Division of Emergency Management) to develop a catastrophic debris management plan
HB 3838, a win for private property rights, amending the Texas Property Code to protect mineral or royalty interest owners from fraudulent lease offers
HB 1409 protecting landowners from appraisers unfairly changing the use of their land and being charged back taxes on land removed from use as land for timber production
HB 2867 establishing the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Sam Houston State University, addressing the primary care physician shortage in rural Texas
SB 1264 protecting Texans from surprise medical billings when they may unknowingly get care out of their network
HB 1 maintaining the levels of funding for border security over the previous biennium
HB 16 protecting babies who survive abortions by requiring doctors to provide the highest standard of medical care possible
HB 18 increasing awareness of mental health and school safety and providing resources for educators to know how and when to intervene --
"Voting for legislation that brings meaningful change to so many across the state of Texas makes the past six months worth every minute. I am blessed to be back with my family in East Texas and will continue to work on the issues our constituents care about most," Bailes said.
Representative Bailes is serving his second term as a state legislator for House District 18, serving on the Energy Resources and Corrections Committees.