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. “
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.
Turner Honored by Recognition from State’s Largest Police Association
AUSTIN – On Monday, State Representative Chris Turner received the “Best of the House” award from the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT) in recognition for his work on issues affecting the law enforcement community. This is the second “Best of the House” Turner has received from CLEAT; he also received the award in 2009. This year, Turner is one of only ten House members to receive the recognition.
“To have the opportunity to work on behalf of the brave men and women who serve and protect our community is reward enough,” said Representative Turner. “However, I am incredibly honored to receive recognition from the largest police association in Texas.”
“Representative Turner has been a loyal friend to law enforcement not only in his district but in the Capitol,” said Charley Wilkison, CLEAT’s Executive Director. “He has remained committed to the rights and interests of the law enforcement community no matter the pressure from opposing sides.”
Turner given award by physicians for his work on women’s health
AUSTIN – Yesterday, State Representative Chris Turner received the “Texas Women’s Health Champion” Award from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Turner received the award in recognition of his commitment to improving health care and promoting the best health outcomes for women and their newborns.
“The obstetricians and gynecologists who work every day to protect women’s health are the ones that deserve recognition,” said Turner. “I am glad that I was able to lend my voice during the regular and special sessions to speak out against the attacks on women’s health. I look forward to working with ACOG in the future to turn back some of the draconian measures that have become law during the last few sessions, and begin to focus on measures that will protect the health and welfare of women and their children.”
“Though the 83rd Legislative Regular and Special Sessions proved to be challenging, Representative Turner stood proud in his support for women and their health care needs,” said R. Moss Hampton, MD, ACOG District XI chair. “We are grateful for the time and energy he spent advocating for women and newborns.”
ARLINGTON, TX – State Representative Chris Turner released the following statement in response to today’s announcement that the Texas Department of Insurance has extended Texas Health Insurance Pool coverage through the end of March, 2014:
“Extending Texas Health Insurance Risk Pool coverage for three months is the right thing to do, under the circumstances. If Governor Perry and the Republican leadership had created a state-based insurance exchange for Texans, this step probably would not have been necessary, but given their failure to do so, this is the right decision.”
FORT WORTH, TX – Today, State Representative Chris Turner filed paperwork for re-election to the Texas House of Representatives at the Tarrant County Democratic Party headquarters.
Turner, who is currently serving his second term in the Legislature, represents Tarrant County’s District 101, a rapidly growing and diverse area, which includes major portions of Arlington and Grand Prairie.
“During my first two terms serving in the Texas Legislature, I’ve focused on the issues that matter to folks in our district,” said Turner. “As a result, we’ve gotten some good things done, ensuring that tenants do not fall victim to unscrupulous landlords, that the lives of service members who made the ultimate sacrifice are not forgotten and that additional protections are in place to so that children do not fall victim to sexual predators, just to name a few.
“My priorities will continue to reflect the needs of the people I represent – creating jobs in our community and state, strengthening public schools and increasing access to affordable health care for all Texans. And I will continue to stand up against misguided, partisan efforts to roll back voting rights and women’s rights,” continued Turner.
Arlington, TX – Today, state Representative Chris Turner released the following statement in response to the announcement that Attorney General Greg Abbott has dropped his opposition to the merger between North Texas-based American Airlines and US Airways:
“Five weeks ago, I sent Attorney General Abbott a letter asking a series of questions about his lawsuit against American Airlines, a lawsuit that put at risk thousands of North Texas jobs. I never received a response from Mr. Abbott, and now I know why − because he didn’t have any good answers. We may never know why Mr. Abbott decided to sue a major North Texas employer, but we can be glad he has backtracked and abandoned this job-killing lawsuit.”
Click here for a copy of Chris’s letter to Attorney General Greg Abbott from August 26, 2013.
Texas should be subject to preclearance under VRA due to past findings of “intentional discrimination”.
AUSTIN, TX — In reaction to today’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Justice will pursue legal action requiring Texas to receive “preclearance” prior to amending election laws, state Representative Chris Turner (HD101 – Grand Prairie) released the following statement:
“I commend the Department of Justice for its support of re-instituting ‘preclearance’ requirements for Texas election laws. Texas has a long and unfortunate history of disenfranchising voters. Most recently, the D.C. District Court found that the 2011 redistricting maps drawn by Texas Republicans intentionally discriminated against minorities, and the court also determined that the state’s voter photo ID law discriminated against Texans living in poverty, many of whom are minorities.
“The recent refusal by Republican leaders to make substantive changes to redistricting maps recommended by minority groups and their obsession with creating new hurdles for voters by rushing to implement the voter photo ID law, shows that Texas should continue to be subject to pre-clearance under the Voter Rights Act.”
140-day session brings positive improvements to public education & water, but fails on Medicaid expansion
AUSTIN − As the 83rd Texas Legislature prepares to adjourn, Representative Chris Turner offered closing thoughts on the final day:
“Some good progress was made this session for Texans and their families. We were able to pass a final budget that restores the majority of public education funding that was slashed two years ago and makes a serious investment in water infrastructure for our state. We will finally use the System Benefit Fund as it was originally intended − to help low-income Texans with high electric utility bills and at the same time, eventually end the fee for good. I am also pleased that several measures I authored are headed to Governor Perry’s desk for his signature.
“Public education got a much-needed boost this session. The Arlington Independent School District and the Mansfield Independent School District both stand to gain significantly in per-student funding over the next two years. We also passed a cost-of-living adjustment increase for retired teachers, the first they have received in more than a decade. Equally important, I was proud to co-author legislation that dramatically reduces standardized testing and improves curriculum options for public school students.
“Although I was successful in passing several pieces of legislation, there were far too many critical issues the Legislature failed to address. My greatest disappointment from this session is that the Legislature failed to take any steps to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. This short-sighted decision is fiscally irresponsible and denies affordable health care to millions of uninsured Texans. Nonetheless, I will continue to advocate for increased access to affordable health care.”
Measure creates notification process between utilities, landlords, tenants, and municipalities in the event of an electric or gas utility disconnect
Texas House of Representatives has given final approval to HB 1772, which would establish an important process of notification between utility service providers, municipalities, landlords, and tenants in the event of an electric or gas utility disconnection. HB 1772 deals specifically with nonsubmetered master metered multifamily properties. These are “all bills paid” properties which do not have individual meters assigned to each unit. Bills for utilities such as gas and electricity are generally paid directly by the landlord, using funds built into the tenants’ rent.
“This consumer protection measure empowers tenants by ensuring they have advanced notice if gas or electric service is about to be disconnected through no fault of their own,” said Turner. “This type of situation has occurred all too often in Arlington and elsewhere: the landlord doesn’t pay the utility bill, tenants are left high and dry, and cities are faced with a potential public health crisis because they have citizens who are displaced or suffering from heat or cold exposure,” Turner continued.
“HB 1772 addresses this problem by giving both tenants and cities advanced warning so that both can plan accordingly,” Turner said. “I appreciate the City of Arlington’s leadership in crafting this measure, along with the other stakeholders who have helped in this process.”