It’s hard to believe, but the 84th Legislative Session is right around the corner. In about five weeks, I will head back to the Capitol to be sworn in for my third term. It’s an incredible honor to have the continued trust of my neighbors in House District 101 and to be their voice on the issues that matter in our community – improving our public schools, increasing access to healthcare and creating better paying jobs for our community.
Success during a legislative session is definitely a team effort, which includes help from staff, my colleagues, and of course, the Texans I represent. I look forward to working with you as we gear up for session. If we can help with a state matter or you have a bill idea, just let me know. You can email me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for your support and continued friendship. I look forward to hearing from you.
P.S. Make sure to scroll down for information about our upcoming Holiday Open House, Opening Day of Session and Texas 101 Day at the Capitol!
AUSTIN – On Monday, State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101- Grand Prairie) pre-filed five pieces of legislation in advance of the 84th Legislative Session. The measures target a wide range of issues, including instituting a ban on “double dipping,” ensuring bars carry liability insurance, providing additional aid to veterans in need, cracking down on unsolicited calls by high-interest lenders, and protecting Texans from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
ARLINGTON — In anticipation of tonight’s announcement by President Barack Obama that he will sign an executive order addressing immigration, State Representative Chris Turner (HD101-Grand Prairie) released the following statement:
“Comprehensive immigration reform has been stalled in Congress for far too long. I applaud the President for taking action to fix a broken system that has put millions of law-abiding families — including many in North Texas — in constant fear of being ripped apart.
“It is my hope that this announcement will finally spur Congress into action and they will pass comprehensive immigration reform. Such legislation will not only benefit immigrants, but our local, state and national economy. Additionally, millions will finally be able to come out of the shadows.”
“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” -Elmer Davis
In an ultimate display of unwavering patriotism, our nation’s veterans have made unbelievable sacrifices in order to protect the rights and liberties we cherish as Americans. It is because of their courage, their strength, their commitment, and their dedication to freedom and democracy that we have become the great country we are today.
In recognition of their service, today we thank the many brave men and women who have worn our country’s uniform. We remember our sacred obligation to all veterans and their families, and celebrate our nation’s true heroes. Their admirable contributions at home and abroad merit far more honor than we can ever bestow, nor we can ever fully repay them for their sacrifice and selflessness.
Please join me today in paying tribute those who have served our nation and fought to protect our freedom. They have truly earned our lasting respect and gratitude.
There’s less than two weeks until Texas 101 Day. To get ready, this week and next, I’m sending emails that will hit on the topics we’re going to discuss in detail that day. In advance of the event, I’d really like to hear your thoughts.
The first topic: pay day and auto title lending.
In the past few months, there’s been a lot of talk about these businesses, and for good reason. They are everywhere. In parts of Arlington and Grand Prairie, I’ve seen two on the same street corner.
How prevalent are they? According to the Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner, the Texas agency with oversight over these businesses, there are close to 300 payday and auto title lenders in Tarrant County, 57 of them located in and around the district I represent.
These businesses hit the financially vulnerable harder in Texas than in any other state. In a report released last month, The Pew Charitable Trusts found that because Texas has no limit on how much a person can be charged for a loan, our state’s citizens pay a higher price than they would in any other state in the nation. They found that in Texas, to borrow $300 for a five-month period, on average, a person will be charged a 454 percent annual interest rate and it will ultimately cost the borrower $701.
AUSTIN — In reaction to the Texas Transportation Commission’s (TTC) approval of the SH360 project agreement, state Representative Chris Turner released the following statement:
“Today’s decision by the Texas Transportation Commission to approve the agreement is a significant milestone toward extending SH360 south. There are still a few steps left in the process, but once the project is complete, it will have an incredible impact on those who live and work in southeast Tarrant County’s fast growing communities.
“I commend the TTC and NTTA’s leadership for understanding the critical need for this project and for working together to ensure it is funded and constructed in a timely manner. Extending SH360 has been one of my top priorities since first taking office in 2009 and I look forward to seeing the continued progress and eventual completion of the project.”
ARLINGTON — In reaction to the North Texas Tollway Authority’s (NTTA) unanimous approval of the SH360 project agreement, state Representative Chris Turner (HD-101) released the following statement:
“Today’s action by the NTTA is a major milestone in the effort to extend SH360 south from Sublett Road/Camp Wisdom Road. I commend the NTTA for its leadership on this issue and look forward to the Texas Transportation Commission also approving this project.
“Extending SH360 has been one of my top priorities since first taking office in 2009. I know that once the project is complete, it will have a positive impact on the quality of life for families in southeast Tarrant County.”
In 2009 and 2010, Turner organized a stakeholders group that brought community leaders, officials from the NTTA, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), as well as officials from Arlington, Grand Prairie, Mansfield, and Tarrant County together in an effort to improve SH360.
The agreement approved today requires TxDOT to fund $294 million and the NTTA to be responsible for road operations and maintenance. The agreement must still be approved by the Texas Transportation Commission. Once that occurs, the NTTA anticipates the extension of SH360 will be completed in 2018.
I say it often — there are 150 members elected to the Texas House of Representatives, but just one who represents District 101. Although I regularly weigh in on issues that impact everyone in our state, and will continue to do so, my primary focus has been and always will be on working for Arlington and Grand Prairie.
Of course, our district isn’t really that different from the rest of Texas — it’s diverse and dynamic, made up of women and men who want a bright future for their families. It’s full of children who deserve the opportunity for a future of unlimited possibilities.
Like the rest of our state, in order for these families to have the opportunity to succeed, they shouldn’t have to do it alone. They should be able to count on their elected officials and their government to be a partner in securing those opportunities.
One area where that partnership is critical is healthcare. …
AUSTIN – In reaction to today’s announcement that Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Commissioner Julia Rathgeber approved additional regulations for Texas’ 300-plus Affordable Care Act Navigators, state Representative Chris Turner released the following statement:
“After listening to many of the concerns raised by elected officials, non-profit organizations, and others, I appreciate that Commissioner Rathgeber rejected or scaled back some of the more extreme, politically-driven rules that had been proposed.
However, there are still reasons for concern. The tight March 1 deadline will make it difficult for many navigator entities to comply. With the health insurance enrollment period ending March 31, many navigators will have to shift their focus to completing paperwork, instead of helping some of the 6.4 million in Texas who lack health insurance coverage.
It is imperative that TDI make the registration process as fair and as quick as possible so that the navigators can continue to do the work they were hired to do. I will continue to work with TDI and navigators to see that we’re able to make real progress in signing people up for health insurance. “
Good evening. Thank you, Rev. Whisler, for your kind words of introduction.
Pastor Evans, it is always a privilege to be in the warmth of fellowship at Bethlehem Baptist Church. Thank you and all the members of Bethlehem for once again honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with this important community event. It is an honor to be here.
It is somewhat daunting to follow Lyndsey Captain to this lectern – what an inspiring speech. Let’s give her a hand, one more time.
I’d like to introduce Devan Allen, who is with me today. She’s a leader in our community and I am fortunate that she is my District Director.
Ms. Victoria Dodd, who as always, has done an amazing job of organizing this event, nine years running – has asked me to speak on the theme of “Freedom and Equality: the Hope for our Future.”
As I really focused on those words, it forced me to ask some questions that I had not really considered before.
Freedom and equality. Both are certainly goals for which Dr. King dedicated his life and his ministry to advocating for. But are freedom and equality two, distinct and separate concepts – or are they two ideals which are inextricably linked?
In other words, can someone be free if they are not an equal in our society? And can someone be equal, if they are not free? Something for us to think about.
Last year, an estimated $90 million in Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) went unclaimed in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. In an effort to help make residents aware of this credit, the City of Arlington and the AARP (Grand Prairie) are offering free tax help to low and middle-income families.
Beginning Tuesday, January 21, tax preparers with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program will be available to help Arlington residents complete their returns. On Monday, February 3, free help will be available to those in Grand Prairie.
Those seeking assistance should bring their W-2, 1099 or 1098, Social Security card or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) letter, and a picture ID.
For additional information, contact my Arlington district office by calling 817-459-2800.
The locations and times are listed after the jump.
With 6.4 million uninsured in Texas, state agency needs to put people ahead of politics
AUSTIN – Today, state Representative Chris Turner attended the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) hearing on the proposed rules regarding the regulation of navigators to share his concerns. The following are excerpts from his prepared remarks:
“After the September 30 hearing and subsequent meetings, I had begun to hope that the proposed rules might reflect the legitimate concerns that have been laid for the last two months by elected officials and navigators, nonprofit organizations and others who are working hard every day to connect uninsured Texans with access to affordable health insurance.
These rules, for the most part, do not appear they are aimed at protecting consumers; rather, they seem clearly intended to make a political statement, a statement that if it’s made, will be done to the determent of millions of uninsured Texans.
For some organizations, the financial impact could very well force them out of providing navigator services altogether, which will have a negative impact on our state.
Now, everyone knows that politics is everywhere when it comes to the ACA. Navigators have simply become the latest easy target in an all-out assault on the Affordable Care Act.