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. “
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.”