Make Public Education a Priority
Chris co-authored the measure that will provide a much-needed increase in public school funding and increase the equity among school districts, while providing public school teachers a pay raise of at least $800 per year. Chris believes this was a good first step, but that much more needs to be done to strengthen our public schools.
Chris also voted for an overhaul in our school accountability system which will reduce the emphasis on standardized testing and “teaching to the test.” The measure also increases focus on college preparedness while ensuring that students seeking a future in specific career and technical fields have the tools they need to succeed.
Protecting Families from Unexpected Utility Rate Hikes
Chris wrote and worked to pass the legislation that will require residential electric providers give at least 30 days notice that a fixed rate contract is scheduled to expire, allowing the customer time to shop around and select a new contract. Chris heard from numerous constituents of instances when their contract expired, often with no notice, rates would skyrocket to the highest price available, doubling electric bills as a result.
Working to Make Insurance Companies Accountable
During the 81st Legislative Session, Chris wrote and filed numerous measures aimed at making insurance companies accountable for the high premiums they charge consumers. Currently, Texans pay the highest rates for homeowners insurance in the nation and they coverage they receive does not reflect the amount they pay. Unfortunately, special interests killed all insurance reform this session, but Chris is determined to help deliver real reform for Texas families.
Protect the health of our most precious asset — our kids
Currently, Texas ranks dead last in the percentage of adults and children with health insurance.
This is unacceptable. Chris supports responsibly expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in order to decrease the number of uninsured children in our state. During the past Legislative Session, Chris co-authored a measure that would expand CHIP eligibility to include children whose family incomes are between 101 to 300% the Federal Poverty Level.
Chris also authored a measure that would allow parents to deduct child support payments made from the income amount used to determine CHIP eligibility. This would reward parents for doing the right thing and paying child support, plus help more families and children qualify for health insurance. This measure was included in an omnibus CHIP bill which failed to be considered on the House floor.
Chris also believes we must crack down on insurance companies who deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions or drop people because they get sick.
Protect our Borders
During the 81st Legislative Session, Chris voted to add more than $100 million to increase our state’s border security efforts. As a member of the House Committee on Defense and Veterans Affairs, which has oversight over various border security efforts, Chris believes the state must be more aggressive in finding new ways to curb drug and human trafficking and organized crime.
Environment and Renewable Energy = Healthier Families and a Healthier Economy
The DFW Metroplex has some of the dirtiest air of anywhere in the country, and if the state doesn’t help us improve our air quality, our region faces tough federal penalties – penalties that will be bad for business and consumers.
Chris Turner believes that we need to increase our renewable energy production, such as solar and wind, as well as energy produced by clean coal facilities.
It is critical that consumers who choose to put solar panels on their house, or generate power in other manners, are not penalized for doing so.
Making college more affordable and accessible to every Texan is one of Chris’s top priorities.
Chris supported increasing the Texas Grant program, which will make college financial aid available for an additional 24,000 middle-class Texas families. Chris believes we must do more to make college more affordable for all deserving students.
Chris co-authored H.B. 51, which opens the door for “emerging research universities,” such as the University of Texas at Arlington, to become a “Top Tier” research university. More Top Tier schools will bring more good-paying jobs to Texas and Tarrant County.
Chris also wrote and passed the law requiring all Texas colleges and universities to have a financial aid specialist trained on the GI Bill and the Hazelwood Act, so that Texas veterans get every dine of benefits they have earned through their service.
Honoring Texas Veterans
As a member of the House Committee on Defense and Veterans’ Affairs, Chris worked hard on important issues affecting veterans and their families, including:
- Wrote and passed the law to create a new veterans’ scratch-off lottery ticket, which will provide an estimated $8 million annually for critical and emergency aid to Texas veterans. This was a top priority for every major veterans group in Texas. The scratch-off ticket was released for sale on November 9, 2009.
- Wrote and passed the law that will help veterans and their families receive the financial aid benefits they have earned through their service by requiring state colleges and universities designate a professional in their financial aid office is familiar with and trained on the major educational benefits available to veterans. This measure was signed into law and effective immediately.
- Strongly supported the property tax exemption for 100% disabled veterans.
- Authored and passed a law that would allow state employees to continue to accrue sick and vacation time when they deployed for active duty military service.
- Wrote a measure that would allow the spouses of soldiers killed in the line of duty or 100% disabled as a result of their service to be eligible for Hazelwood educational benefits. This was added to a larger piece of legislation, passed and signed into law.
As a result of this work, and other measures benefiting veterans and their families, Chris was named the bi-partisan Legislative Veteran’s Caucus “Freshman of the Year” and given the Texas Veterans’ Commission “Leadership Award.”
Jobs & the Economy
In order to help prevent manufacturing layoffs, Chris’s first bill signed into law made improvements to the shared work unemployment compensation program, making it possible for many of our large manufacturers and other employers who operate on swing shifts to participate in this Texas Workforce Commission program.
Chris co-authored a $170 million tax cut which will exempt small businesses with less than $1 million of revenue from paying Texas franchise taxes. Chris also co-authored legislation to expand the back-to-school sales tax holiday to cover school supplies.
Get Tough on Gang Violence, Drug Dealers
Gang violence is still in the headlines in many parts of Tarrant County, and teen drug use remains a serious problem, particularly the explosion of “meth” use. Chris Turner believes we must do more to fight violent gangs and crack down on drug dealers who prey on our children.
Chris believes we must do everything possible to keep our families and children safe from the threat of sexual predators.
Chris authored a measure to require sex offenders who claim to be homeless to register with their local law enforcement agency every two (2) weeks. This was a top priority for law enforcement, who had seen cases of sex offenders claiming to be homeless in order to evade registration requirements. Chris’s bill was combined with an identical piece of legislation during the committee process, passed both houses and was signed by the governor.
Chris also authored and passed out of the House legislation requiring computer technicians to report the discovery of child pornography to law enforcement. Even though this measure had strong support from law enforcement, it dies it the Senate. Chris intends to re-file this important piece of legislation during the 82nd Legislative Session.
Get Texas Moving Again
With the Metroplex expected to add an additional three million people in the next 25 years, our inability to build an adequate transportation system will soon catch up to us, hampering economic development, worsening our air quality and ultimately lessening our quality of life.
Since being electing, Chris has worked closely with leaders and citizens throughout southern Tarrant County to find ways to improve the transportation infrastructure at look at alternative methods of travel, including light and commuter rail systems. He will continue to be a vocal voice for our region and work with his fellow legislators to find solutions to our transportation needs.
Chris strongly believes the state must end its practice of diverting gas tax revenue from transportation needs.