State Representative Trent Ashby was at Martin Senior Service Center on Thursday, October 26 to report the results of the 85th House Session to his Trinity County constituents. Several of the county’s public officials were present, including, County Judge Doug Page, Precinct 2 Commissioner, Rich Chamberlin, District 411th Judge, Casey Jones, Constable Carl Casey, and Trinity County Treasurer, Bob Dockins.
Ashby has served District 57 in the House since January of 2013 and is on the Appropriations Committee, the Calendars Committee, Natural Resources, and he is chair of Appropriations - S/C on Article III Committee. As District 57 representative, Ashby explained that at the beginning of the 85th Session there were some 6,631 bills put forward for the House to either pass or defeat in the four months they were in Austin. According to Ashby 1,262 made it to the Governor’s desk where he vetoed 51 and 1211 became law.
He was generally pleased with most of the work accomplished in this session. One bill that has been battered around in Austin that reached the Governor’s desk is the “American Law for American Courts Act,” which forbids courts to consider any foreign law that contradicts the Constitution when trying a case. This practice has been working its way into the American court system for years and has concerned many Texans.
Another law that Ashby was pleased to report has received the Governor’s signature bans sanctuary cities. While there is much controversy across the nation about this bill, Ashby says it’s a step in the right direction.
The House earmarked another 800 million dollars for border security in this session. The plan is to hire more Department of Public Safety officers to be stationed in border counties to increase the presence of law enforcement without requiring officers across the state to leave their families and serve temporary duty along the border.
Women can now use any caliber weapon they choose for their CHL. Before the 85th session, the smallest caliber was a 32.
The House also banned partial-birth abortion in this 85th session. This means that healthcare facilities, including hospitals and abortion clinics, must bury or cremate remains of babies, whether they die from abortion, miscarriage, or stillbirth, and they can’t donate or sell these remains to medical researchers. Included in the bill is a ban on partial-birth abortion.
This law would prohibit providers from performing dilation and evacuation abortions. This procedure is common during the second trimester. In this process, doctors use surgical instruments to grasp and remove pieces of fetal tissue, unless the fetus is already deceased.
Ashby reported that the Supreme Court declared a portion the state’s voter ID law is unconstitutional, so in this session the House addressed the Supreme Court’s reservations, thus, making the law acceptable and legal.
During the Question & Answer portion he was asked about TRS Care. Ashby explained that there will be a $1.4 billion shortfall in the budget over the next two-years. According to Ashby the original funding plan was based on the number of active teachers paying into the system, but medical cost increases have eaten away the resources causing a shortage of funds.
While he touched on many important changes made this session, he mentioned one that he thought Constable Carl Casey would enjoy. Ashby told the Constable that he could now hunt feral hogs from a hot air balloon. This tongue in cheek remark brought down the house.
The Trinity Standard will have a video of the event on our website, trinityconews.com in a few days for those who would like to hear Ashby’s full report.