84th Legislation session called a success

Published 7:47 am Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Special to The Leader

AUSTIN, Texas — On Monday, the 84th Legislative Session came to a close, marking another successful session for the people of Texas.
“Serving the people of Senate District 3 has been one of the greatest honors of my life,” Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) said. “Working with my colleagues in the Legislature, I believe we passed legislation this session which will be beneficial to East Texas and the State of Texas.”
As a first time member of the Senate Finance Committee, Nichols played an integral role in determining the state’s budget for the next biennium. The Legislature finalized and approved a $209.4 billion budget which will boost funding for border security, public schools and roads in the state. They also approved $3.8 billion in business and property tax relief for the people of Texas
“I want to thank Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for his strong leadership and for entrusting me with the Chairmanship of the Senate Transportation Committee,” Nichols said. “While it is impossible to address every issue in a single session, he pursued an agenda to help meet the needs of all Texans.”
As Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, Senator Nichols worked with other members of the Legislature to pass legislation which will constitutionally dedicate approximately $3 billion per year to the State Highway Fund for non-tolled roads and bridges. This constitutional amendment will be sent to the voters for approval in November 2015.
“If passed by the voters, this legislation will be the largest single increase in transportation funding in Texas history,” Nichols said. “With the progress we have made throughout the past couple of years, the State’s transportation funding is going to be where it needs to be in the future.”
Other legislative highlights include:
• Providing support for mental health in the state including veterans and supporting mental health workforce training programs
• $3.7 billion in new appropriations for transportation
• $800 million in border security funding
• Open Carry – allowing properly credentialed individuals to openly carry handguns
• Approximately $ 3 billion in combined additional funding for public education and higher education
• $3 billion in Tuition Revenue Bonds for Higher Education Institution projects
• $130 million in pre-kindergarten grant funding for High Quality Pre-K
• SJR 22 stating that Texans have a constitutional right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife by the use of traditional methods.
• SB 1457 – Protection for patent holders from those who would send a bad faith claim of patent infringement, also known as patent trolls.
• Increased funding for women’s health services
“I can confidently report that this has been a solid, conservative session,” Caucus Chairman Kelly Hancock (District 9 – North Richland Hills) said. “We addressed critical issues like border security and transportation funding while still finding $3.8 billion in tax relief for Texas families and businesses. I would call that a big win for all Texans.”