Priorities

Chis Turner Passes Tenant Protection Bill

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.”

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State Representative Chris Turner

Still time to get this right

The situation faced in our classrooms is no less dire now that it was when we started this session, or when we were on the campaign trail. State legislators made a commitment to their constituents to get this right.

To date, the House has passed proposals that only restore 55 cents on the dollar from what was cut in 2011. Specifically, the House-passed budget restores $2.5 billion for public schools over the next biennium. As you may know, I could not support this version of the budget because it did not fully fund public schools. An additional $500 million was appropriated just last week, but even still, this leaves funding $2.4 billion short. That is just not good enough — not for our kids, their parents or our teachers.

 I have not and will not waver in my belief that our top priority must be to restore funding for public education. There is no reason at all why we can’t make smart investments in our children, who are vital to our state’s future. With four weeks left, there is still time to get this right.

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Chris Turner Passes Bill Critical To Law Enforcement Efforts On Local Waterways

Turner’s bill will help local law enforcement officers better patrol Texas waterways

AUSTIN − State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101 – Grand Prairie) announced today that the Texas House of Representatives has passed HB 1222, a bill which allows citations issued on Texas waterways by municipal law enforcement officers to be heard in municipal court. Currently, these citations can only be brought before justice and county courts. State Senator Royce West has filed an identical bill in the Senate (SB 501).

“This bill was an issue brought to me by the City of Grand Prairie before the legislative session even started,” said Turner. “HB 1222 is a product of local and state governments working together on legislation that benefits everyone in this state. With warm weather quickly approaching, giving our law enforcement officers every possible resource to keep Texans safe on our lakes and rivers is critical.”

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A Step in the Right Direction

I was proud to co-author and support HB 5, which passed in the Texas House of Representatives with nearly unanimous support. This piece of legislation offers meaningful solutions to key issues facing our state’s public high schools and students.

HB 5 reduces the number of end of course assessments from 15 to five, creates one standard diploma that allows every student the opportunity to apply to a four-year university in Texas, encourages students to pursue diploma endorsements in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and business, as well as arts and humanities. It also broadens school ratings so that factors other than standardized tests will contribute to measuring a school’s performance.

I am pleased that three amendments I proposed were added to HB 5. One will give special education teachers more one-on-one time to spend with their students, rather than prepping for tests. Another amendment promotes dual credit for career and technical education students to put towards an associate’s degree or a licensing certification. Finally, I offered an amendment that prohibits individuals connected with or paid by test vendors from serving on Texas Education Agency assessment committees.

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Chris Turner Passes Jobs Bill For Veterans, Active Duty Service Members & Reservists

Turner’s bill would waive residency requirement for U.S. military service members applying for commercial driver’s license

AUSTIN − State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101) announced today that the Texas House of Representatives has passed HB 860, a bill which would waive the residency requirement for service members applying for a commercial driver’s license. State Senator Wendy Davis has filed an identical bill, SB 229.

“This bill is an important step in bringing down the high unemployment rate that our veterans are facing right now,” said Turner. “What is an easy part of the application process for most, is extremely difficult if you are active duty or reserve, unexpectedly relocated to Texas, and need to get back to work as soon as possible. I’m proud to continue working with Senator Davis on such an important issue. This is small way we can continue to honor the service of these men and women.”

HB 860 is supported by Texas Veterans Coalition Organizations (TCVO) and the Texas Motor Transport Association (TMTA.)

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State Representative Chris Turner

Just Now

I just got out of a press conference with Congressman Joaquin Castro, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and other Democratic leaders who urged Governor Perry and Republican leadership to accept Medicaid expansion.

Earlier this morning, Governor Perry, U.S Senator John Cornyn, and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz took a stubborn stand against the expansion. Governor Perry was quoted by the Dallas Morning News as saying “Texas will not be participating in Medicaid expansion.”

Political stunts like the one held today by Governor Perry make it clear that he is not getting the message. We need to stop playing politics with the health of our constituents. There is too much is at stake.

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Turner & Van De Putte File Legislation to Address Hazlewood Funding

AUSTIN − State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101 – Grand Prairie) and state Senator Leticia Van de Putte (SD 26 – San Antonio) have filed identical measures aimed at addressing concerns raised by some Texas universities regarding the expense of Hazlewood, the state’s veteran higher education financial aid program. The legislation would allow schools to use “B-On-Time” funds that are not utilized at the institution at which they are collected to offset that school’s Hazlewood and Hazlewood Legacy tuition exemption programs.

“Hazlewood represents a solemn promise from the state of Texas to our veterans and their families and our legislation is aimed at keeping that promise,” Turner said. “By allowing our state’s colleges and universities to utilize unused B-On-Time funds that are currently being transferred back to the state to instead offset Hazlewood costs, we will strengthen our veterans benefits and help our colleges and universities.”

“The first and foremost consideration is that we help the 1% who defend our freedoms and have earned their Hazlewood benefits,” Senator Van de Putte said. “It makes sense to give schools the flexibility to utilize monies already appropriated for their campuses before looking at additional state dollars. This bill will help our universities do the right thing for our veterans and their families.”

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One-time Use

It’s no secret that our public schools face a lot of challenges right now.

The Legislature cut $5.4 billion in education funding last session, and even though a state judge has recently ruled our school finance system unconstitutional, the Republican leadership isn’t exactly rushing to put more money into education.

So that’s why  I introduced two bills last week that would allocate a small portion of the Rainy Day Fund for one-time grants for school security upgrades and career and technology education equipment, for a total of $500 million. This is just over four percent of the $12 billion that is projected to be in the Rainy Day Fund at the end of the next biennium.

These bills would give schools some of the resources they so badly need to protect their students and better train and educate our future workforce.

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Chris Turner Files New Measures to Help Texas Veterans, Service Members and Families

Bills would expand job opportunities, boost assistance fund and help surviving spouses

AUSTIN − State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101) has filed six measures to aid veterans, service members and their families. Turner’s veterans’ package covers several areas, addressing veteran unemployment, providing an additional funding source for the Permanent Fund for Veterans’ Assistance and exempting spouses of service members killed in the line of duty from paying property taxes on their home.

“Since my first term, I have been incredibly fortunate to work on initiatives to honor the service and sacrifice of our service members, veterans and their families,” said Turner. “With unacceptably high veteran unemployment rates, many of the bills I have filed this session focus on helping service members and veterans get good-paying jobs that capitalize on the skills they attained during their time in uniform.

“We must also never forget the spouses of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation,” continued Turner, “which is why I filed a measure to exempt the spouses of service members killed in the line of duty from paying property taxes on their homes, the same benefit we currently extend to 100 percent disabled veterans and their surviving spouses. It’s one small way that we can honor those who died defending our country and provide crucial economic help to their families.”

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