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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

SA Lawmakers File First Bills for the 2015 Legislative Session

Posted By on Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 2:21 PM

  • Photo by Ed Schipul/Flickr

Was the last week enough time to recover from election season? Good. Because the 2015 Texas Legislature meets in just eight weeks, and lawmakers started filing bills Monday, giving us a first glimpse at their wishlists for the upcoming session. 

Here's a quick rundown of what some of our San Antonio reps filed on day one:
  • Democratic State. Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, who acknowledged yesterday that he's interested in running for Sen. Van de Putte's seat in the upper chamber should she decide to run for mayor of San Antonio, filed a handful of bills to raise Texas' minimum wage. View his full list here.

  • State. Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon's needle exchange bill is back, which calls for the creation of a pilot program to reduce the transmission of communicable diseases like HIV and Hepatitis as well as the rates of intravenous drug use. McClendon, a Democrat from San Antonio, has brought forth this idea a few times now, and it hasn't gone anywhere yet.

  • State. Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, introduced a number of bills on day one, including several revenue-related pieces of legislation. The most curious one, however, is a bill related "housing prisoners in a tent or other facility in lieu of a county jail." Larson's office didn't immediately respond to an email request yesterday for more information on his bills, but this reads similar to Arizona's tent city jail in Phoenix, which has raised serious questions and concerns. 

  • Republican State Sen. Donna Campbell, whose district includes parts of San Antonio, filed what she is calling the "Restoring Religious Freedom Amendment," or Senate Joint Resolution 10. In it, she writes that the Texas Constitution shall be amended to read: "Government may not burden an individual's or religious organization's freedom of religion or right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief unless the government proves that the burden is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. For purposes of this subsection, the term "burden" includes indirect burdens such as withholding benefits, assessing penalties, and denying access to facilities or programs."
And a few other noteworthy bills include a repeal Texas' same-sex marriage ban, the implementation of electronic voter registration and a call to end daylight savings time. State Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, has once again filed a bill calling for a statewide texting-while-driving ban, which Gov. Rick Perry has already vetoed once before.

Browse the full list as bills continue to come between now and January 13, 2015, when session kicks off. Note, though, that just because a bill is filed doesn't mean it will come up for debate, let alone get a vote. 

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