First bills

Last week, I filed my first pieces of legislation ahead of the 86th Legislative Session. These measures will address several critical areas, including predatory lending, child safety, campus sexual assault, ethics reform, and consumer tax savings. Here’s a quick snapshot of the first five bills I have filed:

Phone HB 447 would prohibit payday and auto-title lenders from making unsolicited calls to Texans on the state’s “Do Not Call” list. Current law has a loophole that allows predatory lenders to be exempt from the list’s requirements and, as a result, they have carte blanche to call Texans to push their harmful predatory loan products. As you may know, this is a largely unregulated industry in Texas, resulting in the highest interest rates and fees in the nation and many of our neighbors becoming trapped in a cycle of debt.
Baby Currently, 12 states, including Oklahoma, Nebraska and South Carolina, have updated their child restraint laws to require children under age two remain in a rear-facing car seat while riding in a vehicle. The measure I filed, HB 448, is based on American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) recommendations and will better protect our youngest Texans when riding in a vehicle and may well save lives and prevent serious injuries.
Notation HB 449 would help ensure that students who are facing expulsion or suspension due to a code of conduct violation, including sexual assault, may not withdraw and transfer to a different institution of Higher Education during the adjudication process without the new institution being made aware of a possible violation. By adding a notation on a student’s transcript, a university where a student applies will have all the pertinent information.
Magnifying glass HB 450 would provide additional transparency by requiring elected officials’ personal financial statements (PFS) be posted online for members of the public to easily access. Currently, in order to obtain this information, a member of the public must contact the Texas Ethics Commissions and submit a written request. This measure would make the information — which includes a candidate or elected official’s sources of income — publicly available via the internet.
Light bulb HB 451 would add LED light bulbs to the list of tax-free items during the ENERGY STAR® Sales Tax Holiday. Although ENERGY STAR® LED light bulbs use 70 to 90 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, they are not currently included on the list of tax-free items.
These bills are just the start.  We are working on several additional bills that we will be filing in the weeks ahead. As we approach the 86th Legislature and throughout our 140-day session, I will continue to keep you updated.In the meantime, let me know what you’d like to see addressed. Email me at

Meet Our 17 New Texas House Democrats

Democrats made historic gains in Texas this year.
And we’re excited to welcome our new members to our Caucus!


Early Voting Locations

Early voting runs from Monday, October 22 through Friday, November 2. Visit or call 1-844-TX-VOTES to find the nearest polling location.  During early voting, you can vote at any location in the county in which you are registered.

Tarrant County polling locations, dates and times are listed below.

Tarrant County Early Voting Locations & Times:

Monday, October 22 to Friday, October 26: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.   

Saturday, October 27: 7:00 a.m. — 7:00 p.m. 

Sunday, October 28: 11:00 a.m. — 4:00 p.m. 

Monday, October 20 to Friday, November 2: 7:00 a.m. — 7:00 p.m. 

Bob Duncan Center 2800 South Center Street Arlington 76014
Elzie Odom Athletic Center 1601 NE Green Oaks Boulevard Arlington 76006
Center for Community Service Junior League of Arlington 4002 West Pioneer Parkway Arlington 76013
South Service Center 1100 SW Green Oaks Boulevard Arlington 76017
Tarrant County Sub‐Courthouse in Arlington  700 E Abram Street Arlington 76010
Tarrant County College Southeast Campus EMB ‐  Portable Building C 2100 Southeast Parkway Arlington 76018
BJ Clark Annex Room (Sala) (Phòng số) 4 603 Southeast Parkway Azle 76020
Bedford Public Library 2424 Forest Ridge Drive Bedford 76021
Benbrook Community Center 228 San Angelo Avenue Benbrook 76126
Colleyville City Hall 100 Main Street Colleyville 76034
Crowley Recreation Center 405 S Oak Street Crowley 76036
Euless Public Library 201 North Ector Drive Euless 76039
Forest Hill Civic and Convention Center 6901 Wichita Street Forest Hill 76140
All Saints Catholic Church Parish Hall 200 N.W. 20th Street Fort Worth 76164
Diamond Hill‐Jarvis Library 1300 NE 35TH Street Fort Worth 76106
East Pointe Church of Christ 3029 Handley Drive Fort Worth 76112
Griffin Sub‐Courthouse 3212 Miller Avenue Fort Worth 76119
JPS Health Center Viola M. Pitts/Como Lower Level  #100 4701 Bryant Irvin Road N. Fort Worth 76107
Longhorn Activity Center 5350 Basswood Boulevard Fort Worth 76137
Rosemont Middle School 1501 West Seminary Drive Fort Worth 76115
Southside Community Center 959 East Rosedale Street Fort Worth 76104
Southwest Community Center 6300 Welch Avenue Fort Worth 76133
Southwest Regional Library 4001 Library Lane Fort Worth 76109
Southwest Sub‐Courthouse 6551 Granbury Road Fort Worth 76133
Tarrant County Elections Center Main Early Voting Site  2700 Premier Street Fort Worth 76111
Tarrant County Plaza Building 201 Burnett Street Fort Worth 76102
Villages of Woodland Springs Amenity Bldg. 12209 Timberland Boulevard Fort Worth 76244
Worth Heights Community Center 3551 New York Avenue Fort Worth 76110
Asia Times Square 2615 W. Pioneer Parkway Grand Prairie 75051
The REC of Grapevine 1175 Municipal Way Grapevine 76051
Haltom City Northeast Center 3201 Friendly Lane Haltom City 76117
Hurst Recreation Center 700 Mary Drive Hurst 76053
Northeast Courthouse 645 Grapevine Highway Hurst 76054
Keller Town Hall 1100 Bear Creek Parkway Keller 76248
Kennedale Community Center 316 West 3rd Street Kennedale 76060
Sheriff’s Office North Patrol Division 6651 Lake Worth Boulevard Lake Worth 76135
Mansfield Sub‐Courthouse 1100 East Broad Street Mansfield 76063
Dan Echols Center 6801 Glenview Drive N Richland Hills 76180
Eagle Mountain‐Saginaw ISD Administration Building  6 – Training Room 1200 N Old Decatur Road Saginaw 76179
Southlake Town Hall 1400 Main Street Southlake 76092
White Settlement Public Library 8215 White Settlement Road White Settlement 76108


Tuesday, October 23  to Thursday, 25: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Naylor Student Center  1900 West Boyce Avenue Fort Worth 76115
Texas Wesleyan University Baker Building  3021 E Rosedale St. Fort Worth 76105
UNT – Health Science Center MET 2nd Floor Mezzanine  1000 Montgomery St. Fort Worth 76107


Tuesday, October 30 to Thursday,  November 1: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Tarrant County College Northeast Campus Student Center NSTU 1506   828 W. Harwood Road Hurst 76054
Tarrant County College Northwest Campus WSTU 1305  4801 Marine Creek Parkway Fort Worth 76179
Tarrant County College South Campus Student Center SSTU 1112 5301 Campus Drive Fort Worth 76119


Monday, October 29 to Thursday,  November 1: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

UTA – University of Texas at Arlington Maverick Activities Center  500 W. Nedderman Drive Arlington 76019
TCU – Texas Christian University Brown‐Lupton University Union  2901 Stadium Drive Fort Worth 76129

Finding solutions

On Saturday, September 22nd, we held our biennial Texas 101 Day at Tarrant County College Southeast Campus where residents of District 101 and others joined together to discuss major issues impacting our area. This year we focused solely on transportation and improving the health of our community.

After presentations from the JPS Health Network on the proposed bond election (click here for the presentation) and the Tarrant Transit Alliance on local transportation needs (click here for the presentation), we divided attendees into smaller groups to discuss one of the two issues.

When we merged after an hour or so of small group discussion, here’s some of what they had to say:

  • There’s a need for increased access to medical services in our community
  • Texas leads the nation in the rate of uninsured, which impacts the cost of medical care for all in our state and the health of our communities
  • Low voter turnout & lack of transportation could negatively impact the success of the November 6th JPS Bond election


  • Passage of the JPS Bond will help increase access to care with additional and expanded facilities
  • Expanding Medicaid would directly impact the uninsured rate by providing coverage for over 1 million Texas adults and would likely lower health insurance costs
  • Vote! – and do your part to get others to vote on this important measure. Access to transportation and health care go hand in hand. Need to expand transit options to ensure that people can not only vote, but also seek medical treatment.


  • No access to a local comprehensive mass transit system, which negatively impacts many in our community, including many students attending UT Arlington and Tarrant County College Southeast Campus
  • There’s a lack of education about different options and services
  • Past elections when this issue was not approved by voters had extremely low turnout

  • Increase opportunities to discuss transit options and engage college students in the process as they play a key role in our community
  • Add more voices to the discussion about positives and possibilities of increasing transit options; those in support need to make their voices heard. Use social media to educate and create a call to action.
  • If there is an applicable measure, strongly urge city leaders to put it on a November ballot to ensure higher turnout.
Working together, the women and men in attendance were able to confront existing challenges with potential solutions. By doing this, not only did they feel empowered to have the conversations — which sometimes can be difficult — but many felt driven to act.
At the beginning of the event, before the presentations, I reminded attendees how powerful this type of gathering and collaboration could be for our community. Four years ago, we had a room full of people talking about payday lending and how these predatory practices have negatively impacted so many of our neighbors. Now, in part due to the action by the people in the room that day, both Arlington and Grand Prairie now have payday lending ordinances in place. 
As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” 
Texas 101 Day is a prime example of such commitment.
I look forward to continuing to work together on these critical issues and to our next Texas 101 Day in Arlington in 2020.

Texas 101 Day: Two more days!

We’re just two days away from this year’s Texas 101 Day! We have over 100 people signed up to join us for this important event. If you haven’t had a chance to RSVP, it’s not too late. Just give my district office a call at 817-459-2800 or click here. We hope to see you there.

As I have mentioned in previous emails, this year we’re doing things a bit different. We’re focusing our discussion on two main issues: healthy communities and transportation.

We’re excited to have experts from the Tarrant County Hospital District (JPS) and the Tarrant Transit Alliance on hand to present information about these critical issues and how they impact our community.

A few weeks ago, I emailed about health care; today’s focus is our other critical issue: transportation.

Transportation is particularly important in Arlington and Grand Prairie since both communities lack a comprehensive mass transportation system. In fact, Arlington is the largest city in the entire nation without public transit.

It’s been proven time and time again that economic growth and improved quality of life are two primary benefits of mass transit. Improving availability of transit services is especially significant to those in low-income households or for those with limited automobile access, such as students and the elderly.

Last year, to help get a better sense of the needs in our community, I added a measure to the state budget for the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) to study Grand Prairie and Arlington residents’ transit needs. The final report, which is due to be completed at the end of this year, will include the causes of need, existing options and suggested transit improvements. Additionally, and equally important, it will identify the economic benefits of transit; plus, identify the demographic, economic and geographic makeup of the population most impacted by a lack of transit options.

When that report is released, I will share it with you. In the meantime, I hope you’ll be a part of this important discussion at Saturday’s event.

We’ll also talk about the new Rosa Parks Memorial Parkway/360 Toll, high-speed rail and funding for existing roads. Needless to say, we’ll have plenty to talk about. It would be great to hear your thoughts.

I hope to see you Saturday!

P.S. Regarding health care, new US Census numbers were released last week showing the number and rate of uninsured Texans increased from 2016 to 2017. Click here to read my response to the news. 

Have you reserved your spot?

On September 22nd, we will be hosting our 3rd Texas 101 Day in Arlington at Tarrant County College Southeast Campus. This biennial event gives people from House District 101 and surrounding areas an opportunity to discuss important issues impacting our community and our state. More importantly, it gives those in attendance a platform to share ideas and solutions that I can take back to our state Capitol during the upcoming legislative session.

If you’ve attended in the past, this year’s event will be similar to the past events, but with a couple of important changes. First, we’ll be limiting the issues to two: Healthy Communities and Transportation. Next, we’re going to start off with an overview of what’s going on locally, and then to help focus our dialogue, I have invited local experts to discuss these two critical issues. We’ll make sure to have extra time for Q&A and feedback before we break up into smaller groups to discuss problems and solutions.
As I mentioned in an email a couple weeks ago, between now and Texas 101 Day, I will be sharing some thoughts on these two issues to help lay some groundwork for discussion. In my previous email, I focused on health care and how Texas continues to lead the nation in the rate of uninsured, as well as the Texas attorney general leading the fight to make it near impossible for those with pre-existing conditions to get coverage. If you missed it, click hereThe topic of health care in Tarrant County has taken on added importance with the Commissioners Court recently voting to add an $800 million bond election to support the Tarrant County Hospital District. This bond issue will be a major part of our Texas 101 Day discussion.
Watch your inbox for my thoughts on transportation. In the meantime, if there’s something you’d like me to address on these critical issues, let me know. Email me at
Finally, if you haven’t reserved your seat for Texas 101 Day, it’s not too late. You can do so one of three ways: 1) click here and fill out the RSVP form, 2) via my Facebook event (don’t forget to share it on your page, while you’re there) or 3) call our district office at 817-459-2800.
I hope to see you on September 22nd.

Nearly 1 in 4 uninsured

I wanted to share a quick update on a few issues impacting healthcare in our state and here locally. On Saturday, September 22nd we will be discussing some of these issues more in-depth at Texas 101 Day. Scroll down for details and if you would like to save your seat, please click here.


According to a poll conducted by Gallup in late 2017, over 22 percent of Texans lack health insurance coverage. That’s nearly 1 in 4. And it’s the highest rate of uninsured in the nation.

Take a minute and let that sink in.

Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into effect in 2013, the number was even higher — an astonishing 27 percent according to Gallup. Thanks to the ACA, by 2016 that number dropped significantly to below 17 percent — a move in the right direction.

We all know what happened next and why the trend reversed — state and federal leaders became increasingly hostile to ensuring the availability of affordable and accessible health care coverage in our state and across the country. This is why Texas is on track to forfeit $100 billion of our taxpayer money slated for Medicaid expansion that could have served more than 1.1 million of our neighbors, expanded our economy, created new jobs, and improved the overall health of many in our state. But instead, we’re (still) ranked dead last in the rate of insured.

To add insult to injury, it’s our state’s attorney general leading the fight to strip pre-existing conditions protection from federal law. If Texas and the 19 other states that have joined them win this suit, an estimated 52 million Americans could be immediately impacted. In a rare move, the Trump Administration’s Department of Justice has refused to defend the law in court, further demonstrating that Republicans will do all they can to sabotage the ACA.


It’s the start of the school year and a good time to talk about the importance of immunizations. Last week, the Dallas Morning News reported that there is increasing concern among Texas health officials about the rising number of measles cases in the state. This is coupled with the rise in the number of Texas school vaccine exemptions, which increased by 4,000 to nearly 57,000 last school year. By comparison, that number was just 2,314 in 2003. Locally, from 2013 to 2018, the rate of exemptions for Arlington ISD increased by 72 percent and 47 percent in Mansfield ISD.

Last session, there was a movement to make these exemptions more accessible and easier for caregivers to get and submit to schools. That’s the exact opposite of what needs to be done. Thankfully, most Texans agree. In a recent survey, 86 percent of Republican voters polled support requiring children to be vaccinated before entering school.

In the same poll, a majority of those asked also supported the government playing a role in ensuring protection against vaccine-preventable diseases. This is critical. The increase in measles cases and recent outbreaks of mumps and other preventable diseases is further proof that our government must do more. This is about public health. Those opting out of lifesaving vaccines are not only putting their children at risk, but also many others, including those who are immunocompromised (including those living with cancer) and babies too young to receive vaccines.


Last week, I posted my reaction to Texas General Hospital’s license suspension. You may remember the controversy surrounding this Grand Prairie hospital a few years ago, when it was revealed that patients were receiving bills for five- and six-figure amounts for routine procedures and visits that should have cost a fraction of what they were being charged.

At the time, I asked the Office of the Attorney General, the Texas Department of Insurance and the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to investigate. Unfortunately, state agencies were unable to identify any steps they could take to deal with Texas General’s excessive billing.

In recent months, in response to complaints and concerns about understaffing and safety issues, DSHS intervened. As a result, the agency suspended Texas General Hospital’s license pending an administrative hearing.

For the safety of people in our community, I hope that the hospital’s doors remain closed unless and until it can be operated in a manner that protects the health of patients, as well as their pocketbooks.  We are fortunate to have a number of good, reputable hospitals in our area and residents will be better served in these facilities.

Back to school

With the first day of school just around the corner, it’s a good time to talk about the importance of public education in our state as well as the related issues and challenges we must address to improve the way we fund our schools, retain our teachers and keep kids safe.

School Safety
As the new school year begins, the issue of school safety will be on the forefront of the minds of many parents, students, teachers and administrators.

Earlier this week, I was asked by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to share my thoughts on school safety and specifically what advice I would share with those directly impacted by safety in and around our neighborhood schools. In response, I said that I hope parents and other caregivers, students, and faculty and staff will share any concerns they have with the school district, and state and federal officials so that we may make better-informed decisions regarding this critical issue.

This is an important step that cannot be understated. School safety can’t be addressed with a one-size-fits-all approach. For example, in some districts, metal detectors may make sense, but based on feedback I have received, they may not make sense for schools with larger student populations. Other districts may need help improving technology, including text message notification systems, while others need additional help to provide counselors focused on mental health. The more I hear and other state and local officials hear from those directly impacted, the better we will be able to address the unique needs.

Like our local school districts, as well as districts across our state, I am committed to supporting efforts that will help provide needed resources to schools that will be most helpful and keep Texas kids safe.


A key ingredient in our public education system is our state’s teachers. There’s no doubt in my mind that each and every day, public school teachers go above and beyond to ensure that future generations of Texans succeed. As a state, we owe them a great deal in response to their commitment.

In past months, I have written about our state’s pension and healthcare systems for teachers. We made some changes to the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) during the last session, but it’s apparent that more must be done.

Earlier this month, the TRS board moved to lower the expected rate of return on investments, which will likely create a benefits gap for retirees. In order to ensure that we fulfill the promises made to our teachers, it’s likely that additional funding will be needed to fill the gap. As we head closer to the 2019 Legislative Session, serious conversations need to occur regarding how this will be accomplished in a way that will protect our teachers and retirees.

School Finance Reform & Property Taxes

One of the issues that I regularly hear about from constituents is property taxes. For many, the annual increase in the appraised value of their homes and subsequently, the property taxes they owe, becomes too much for them to bear financially. This must be addressed.

One solution: fix our broken school finance system. In the last decade, the state’s share of public education funding has dropped from 49 to 38 percent, forcing local taxpayers to foot the rest of the bill. When you remove charter schools from the equation, the state share is just 33 percent.

One fix proposed last session – a measure I joint-authored – would have required the state to increase their share of school funding to at least 50 percent. By doing this, the state contribution would have increased their share of funding by an estimated $10-14 billion per year — providing relief to local communities and property owners. 

In addition to increasing how much money comes from Austin, we also need to fix how the money is allocated. Looking ahead and at the upcoming Legislative Session, this should be, without question, the most important issue impacting Texas. Whether or not our state leaders will agree, only time will tell.

Mark your calendar
This Saturday, Arlington ISD will be holding their annual Back to School Kickoff at AT&T Stadium. For details, click here. Also, this weekend is the annual Sales Tax Holiday, when items such as clothes, shoes, backpacks and school supplies will be tax-free. For details, click here.

Another week, another HHSC contracting scandal

Recently, the State Auditor ¹ released a new report highlighting more contracting issues at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). This is dangerous because people — especially the most vulnerable in our state — cannot afford to lose health services because of irresponsible mismanagement.
Things have gotten so bad that the State Auditor found problems with every one of the 28 different contracts it reviewed, all awarded within the past two and a half years. It’s obvious that Governor Abbott hasn’t done his job to keep the HHSC accountable and protect healthcare for all Texans. That’s why I’m asking you to help call this for what it is: completely unacceptable!
One of the worst cases in this newest round of problems is a $3 billion STAR Kids contract. In case you missed it, that same program was recently highlighted in a Dallas Morning News series titled “Pain & Profit” ² — investigating how many Texans are being left to suffer while healthcare companies refuse critical services.
It’s clear that Governor Abbott isn’t making an effort to hold the HHSC accountable, after many months and years of scandal, which is why we need to speak out!


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