North Texas lawmaker urges state leadership to not impede the progress that has been made
Arlington, TX — State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101 – Grand Prairie) released the following statement in reaction to today’s United States Supreme Court decision regarding marriage equality:
“This is truly a historic day. Millions of men and women across our nation will have the ability to legally marry the person they love. Finally, LGBT Texans in committed relationships, will be afforded the same rights as other married couples.
“Unfortunately, here in Texas, today’s decision will face resistance by our state’s leadership. Like many that have come before, history will prove this decision to be the right one. I urge our state’s Republican leaders to not impede the progress that has been made.”
830,000+ Texans no longer in jeopardy of losing critical tax credits
ARLINGTON, TX — Today, State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101 – Grand Prairie), who authored contingency legislation to protect more than 830,000 Texans from losing their health insurance tax credits, released the following statement in response to today’s United States Supreme Court decision in the case of King v. Burwell:
“I am glad the Supreme Court agreed that it’s clear that Congress intended for the tax credits to be available to all Americans who purchase health coverage in an exchange and are between 100 – 400 percent of the poverty level, regardless of who runs the exchange.
The impact of a different decision would have been devastating. If the Court had decided in the plaintiffs’ favor, more than 830,000 Texans would have been negatively impacted and would have faced a 300 percent increase in their premium costs. Many would not have been able to afford coverage and would have returned to the ranks of the uninsured – a category in which Texas unfortunately already leads the nation.
Despite non-stop partisan, political attacks on the Affordable Care Act, thousands in our communities and across our state have affordable health insurance coverage. Now that this decision has been made and this issue is behind us, we can move forward and get even more Texans enrolled in affordable health care plans.”
Final Version of HB 1 leaves too many Texans behind
AUSTIN — Today, State Representative Chris Turner delivered the following remarks outlining his opposition to the conference committee report to HB 1, the two-year state budget:
When this budget was voted on in the House, it was a budget I was proud to vote for, I think a lot of us were proud to vote for it. Now that this budget has come back from the conference committee and is before us for a final vote, the picture I see is much, much different than what we had here two months ago.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some positive aspects of this conference committee report on the budget. On Higher Education, I’m very grateful that this budget funds our first Tuition Revenue Bonds in nearly a decade, and that the budget provides a needed formula funding increase for our universities and colleges. I know that that would not have happened were it not for our House negotiators, led by Chairman Otto.
There are other things to like in this budget — there are things we can all like. On the major issues that will shape our state in the years ahead, this budget misses the mark.
Politicians should not be allowed to collect salary, pension simultaneously
AUSTIN – Today, State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101- Grand Prairie) passed HB 408, which would bar elected officials from collecting a salary and state pension at the same time, if their retirement payments are a result of their service as an elected official. Turner first proposed this legislation in 2013.
“This legislation simply says that if politicians want to start collecting a state-funded pension as a result of their time in office, they need to really retire and no longer collect a salary. Our state leaders frequently tout Texas as a national example for fiscal responsibility. This measure is about fiscal responsibility — it’s just plain common sense that an elected official should not be getting paid twice for doing one job,” said Turner.
“Banning double dipping is an important step to strengthening the public’s trust and faith in both elected officials and the laws under which we serve,” said Turner. “I want to thank the members of the House for overwhelmingly approving this legislation with a vote of 144-1.”
Bills reforming candidate/PAC reporting, expanding personal financial statements and improving access to state agencies heard this week in House committees; Measures join “double-dipping” ban to round out Turner’s transparency and ethics legislative package
AUSTIN − This week, state Representative Chris Turner presented three measures before House committees, all of which would increase ethics and transparency in state government. These bills join HB 408 to round out Turner’s ethics and transparency legislative package; that bill would ban so-called “double dipping” by state elected officials and passed unanimously from the House Committee on Pensions.
HB 1059 would expand the information required on Personal Financial Statements (PFS), filed by candidates and elected officials. Specifically, the measure would require filers to give a more accurate picture of their finances, including whether or not they receive income from a pension plan. The bill would also require the statements to be posted online and available to the general public. HB 1059 was heard today in the House Committee on General Investigating and Ethics.
Measures would allocate $1 billion to address holes in walls, leaking ceilings and rat infestations
Austin — Yesterday, State Representative Chris Turner filed two measures, HB 2841 and HB 2842, to provide funding to fix state agency and university buildings in dire need of repair. Each measure would transfer $500 million from the Economic Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund) to pay for needed renovations.
In a request to members of the House Committee on Appropriations, the Texas Facilities Commission estimated needed state building repairs, ranging from critical to recommended, could cost nearly one billion dollars.
Community invited to attend informational forum about these important programs
ARLINGTON, TX – On Thursday, January 22, State Representative Chris Turner will co-host an informational forum on the Deferred Action for Parents Accountability (DAPA) and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs. The event, which is open to the public, will be held at Sam Houston High School in Arlington, and will feature a presentation by the North Texas Dream Team.
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.”
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.
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. “