The Flynn Report: An Overview of the 2019 Legislative Session

Passing important bills to better the lives of Texans & Constituents of House District 2.

By Texas State Rep. Dan Flynn

Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN Texas Monday May 27th marked Sine Die - the final day of the 86th Legislative Session. The last six months concluded a landmark session the House of Representatives elected a new Speaker for the first time since 2009 Speaker Dennis Bonnen and the Texas legislature passed 1439 new bills including two major priorities SB 2 and HB 3 on Property Tax and School Finance Reform.

This session my staff and I continued to work consistently to support legislation on behalf of the interests and values of Texas House District 2.

We passed 19 bills and as a Senior-Ranking Member of the legislature I was able to help author an additional 98 bills once again making our team one of the most productive in the Capitol. 

For the 86th legislature I was honored to serve as the Chairman of the Defense & Veterans Affairs Committee as well as serve on the Pensions Investments & Financial Services Committee and the House Administration Committee.

It was rewarding to see the hard work of this session result in the passage of many important bills that better the lives of Texans and constituents of House District 2.

Bills of Local Interest

HB 310 - Recognizes the late Hunt County Judge John Horn by designating a portion of Farm-to-Market Road 1570 and Spur 1570 as the John L. Horn Memorial Parkway." Judge Horn was a leader and cherished friend among the residents of Hunt County and this bill honors his lifelong service to the community. Passing HB 310 was a priority and particularly meaningful to me as a way to memorialize Judge Horns dedication and lasting impact on Hunt County. 

HB 1227/ SB 1236 - Authorizes Hunt Regional Healthcare to directly employ physicians in order to more competitively recruit and retain physician staff and thereby improve local medical services. The staff at Hunt Regional Healthcare and I worked diligently to pass this bill to make sure the hospital would be equipped to provide the highest quality of medical services possible to Hunt County. This bill was signed into law by the Governor and will become effective 9/1/2019.

HB 4347 - Authorizes the development of a hotel and convention center project in the City of Commerce. The City Manager of Commerce and I drafted language that was incorporated in this omnibus bill to ensure that the city could take advantage of this state rebate program and fund a hotel and convention center development.

Statewide Legislation

HB 1231/ SB 535 - Gives churches or places of worship the right to either allow or prohibit LTC holders by giving effective notice under 30.06 or 30.07. Currently churches and places of worship are prohibited from allowing legal carry of handguns. This bill gives places of worship the same right as other private property owners to decide whether to allow LTC holders to carry on their premises.

HB 2629 - Requires the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) to adhere to the same deadlines the agency demands of a member or retiree in the appeals process. This bill ensures TRS is held accountable to its members.

HB 2763 - Sets the Galveston police pension on a path to actuarial soundness. Facing one of the worst amortization periods in the state of Texas the city of Galveston Galveston police pension representatives and my office negotiated an agreed-to plan that safeguards the sustainability of the pension for retirees active members and future employees. 

Military & Veterans

As Chairman of Defense and Veterans Affairs this session and a member of the Sunset Advisory Commission I was privileged with the opportunity to carry several bills related to service members and veterans in the state of Texas. This included Sunset bills authorizing the continuation and improvement of military agencies such as HB 1326 on the Texas Military Department HB 1327/ SB 601 on the Texas Veterans Commission and HB 1328/ SB 607 on the Texas Veterans Land Board.

SB 822 - Makes important reforms to the Texas Veterans Family Alliance (TVFA) grant program which supports community mental health programs by providing mental health services for Texas veterans and their families. This bill was signed by the Governor and was made effective as of 5/31/2019.

The Texas State Budget

HB 1 - The Texas budget for the upcoming biennium funds state priorities such as property tax relief education the creation of the Border Security Infrastructure Enhancement Fund and the Human Trafficking Prevention Coordinating Council and Hurricane Harvey and disaster preparedness.

This legislative session my office secured additional funding to go towards the Texas Military Department including the Texas State Guard which was recognized as one of the Governors top legislative priorities. Additionally I teamed up with Special Olympics of Texas to allocate $4 million for Texans living with special needs. 

Highlights of Bills Co-Authored by Representative Flynn

SB 2 Places more power in the hands of voters on increases in property taxes and improves transparency to taxpayers regarding their property rates. This bill is otherwise known as the Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act.

HB 3 Provides an updated overhaul of school finance formulas and allocates greater state funding to public education. 

Notable Pro-life Victories

HB 16 Born Alive Act - Ensures that doctors give the same medical treatment to a child born after surviving an abortion as any other child. It was important to me to co-author this bill to guarantee that no child who is an abortion survivor is left to die following a failed procedure.

SB 22 - Prohibits state funding of abortions. This bill guarantees that taxpayers will not be forced into paying for a life-ending procedure on an unborn child.

HB 902 - Increases the penalty for knowingly assaulting a pregnant woman from a Class A misdemeanor to a third-degree felony. Such an assault can have especially devastating consequences for an expectant mother and demands appropriately heightened penalties.

HB 2422 - Encourages the Texas Department of Transportation to improve broadband access in the state of Texas and specifically directs TXDOT to work on expanding broadband access in rural areas.

SB 12 - Sets the Teacher Retirement System on a path to actuarial soundness and provides a one-time supplemental payment to retired school employees. Our teachers work tirelessly to educate future generations of Texans and this bill recognizes their lifelong dedication by incrementally increasing the states contribution to TRS

SB 18 - Protects free speech and expression on higher education campuses by re-affirming this right as major state policy in the Texas Education Code. This bill provides further protections to ensure First Amendment rights on campus.

SB 1978 Save Chick-fil-A Bill - Ensures all Texans are free to live by their faith without government persecution and guarantees that no Texan must choose between a sincerely held religious belief and his or her livelihood.

HJR 38 - Amends the Texas Constitution to ban a state income tax.

Acknowledgements

I would like to give special recognition to my staff who made this the best session yet - Chief of Staff David Erinakes Legislative Director Mary Ameringer Committee Director Amy Rister and Assistant Committee Clerk Betsy Spurgin. Thank you for your dedication and hard work! 

As always it is my honor to serve the constituents of House District 2 the best district in the state of Texas. Thank you for giving me the privilege to represent you in the Texas House of Representatives this legislative session.

May God continue to bless you and the Great State of Texas!

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State Representative Dan Flynn represents House District 2 which includes Hopkins Hunt & Zandt Counties. He serves as Chairman of the House Defense & Veterans Affairs Committee and is a member of the House Administration Committee as well as the House Committee on Pensions Investments & Financial Services.

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