Capitol Update

Representative Chris Paddie

As we head into the final days of the special session, the House and the Senate have both passed many of the items placed on the agenda for the special session. The House is scheduled to meet this weekend to send additional legislation to the Senate relating to property tax reform. The House and Senate continue to hold meetings to work out the differences between the solutions passed in each chamber, and I remain confident that we will find solutions to many of the issues presented in this special session.

This week, the House passed SB 5, which would provide law enforcement with additional tools to combat mail-in ballot fraud. Mail-in ballot fraud is an issue that escapes the protections put in place by the voter ID laws and other ballot integrity measures that were passed this session. By passing SB 5, we are working to ensure that those who vote by mail, typically senior citizens, are not victimized by illegal campaign tactics and get to vote the way the intend.

The House also took steps to reform our broken school finance system. This is one of the most persistent problems facing out state and must be addressed to give our kids the best possible education. However, fixing the school finance system is also a part of true property tax reform and is the most meaningful thing the legislature can do to provide property tax relief.  Most importantly for many East Texas schools, HB 21 would provide relief for many of our schools being affected by loss of state funds from the ASATR program. Without these funds, or a similar replacement, many of our rural schools will be on the brink of bankruptcy. I am pleased that the House passed this legislation and hope to see the Senate tackle this issue as well.

The House also passed HB 214 which will ban…

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