P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
1100 Bear Creek Parkway
Keller, Texas 76248
P.O. Box 770
Keller, Texas 76244
House Bills Passed
For 24 years, Congress has failed to pass every attempt at a national data privacy law. When a company makes the decision to sell our personal data it does not just open us up to targeted advertising, it takes away our control over the information that is most personal to us. Texans must no longer suffer the consequences of inaction. Our personal data belongs to us.
Texas has chosen to lead the nation in protecting the rights of consumers by passing the Texas Data Privacy and Security Act (TDPSA) giving consumers the right to control data that is collected about them online. Consumers will have the right to know when and why data is collected, delete or correct data, access data, opt out of targeted advertising, opt out of the sale of personal data, opt out of data profiling, and will be protected from discrimination or retribution for using their rights. Companies will have to get consent from customers before collecting any sensitive data (genetic information, biometrics, geo-location, health diagnosis, etc.) and must limit data collection to what is necessary to provide the service to the consumer. Any violation of the TDPSA is subject to a civil penalty of $7,500 per violation from the Attorney General.
State Information Security positions require a high degree of skill and pay well below the market rate for those skills. Current state hiring guidelines recommend that all entry-level information technology jobs should require graduation from a four-year college or university. However, programs such as Texas is IT and Texas Reskilling & Upskilling through Education have demonstrated that tailored curriculum at the community college level, coupled with apprenticeships and on-the-job training can successfully prepare students for positions in IT that traditionally require a four-year degree.
HB 584 allows the state to develop a State Information Technology credential tailored to address shortages in the state information resources workforce.
Oil producers across Texas struggle with stranded gas that naturally occurs as a by-product of drilling oil. Recently, multiple companies created systems that utilize the gas that would have been flared or vented to power mobile Bitcoin mines. While the program has achieved large-scale adoption, it remains uncertain whether gas purchases for such operations should be subject to the severance tax of 7.5% of the market value of gas produced. Many producers do not pay severance tax, but those who do find it difficult to determine the market value of the gas that would have otherwise been flared.
HB 591 clarifies the circumstances in which gas that would otherwise be lawfully vented or flared is not subject to severance taxes when used for a productive purpose.
Internet crime is a growing problem in our technology focused world, including "doxing" which refers to gathering an individual's personal information and posting it publicly without permission. 21% of Americans have personally experienced doxing, with 52% of doxing attacks coming from online interactions with strangers and almost 1-in-4 attackers are personally known to the targets.
HB 611 makes the disclosure of residence address or phone number, with intent to harm, a Class B misdemeanor. The penalty increases to a Class A misdemeanor if the offense results in bodily injury to the targeted person or a family member.
Over 8.5 million Texans have invested in cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, the vast majority of which are held by third-party custodial account holders, or "digital asset service providers," which facilitate the trade and maintain custody of the asset. Recently, multiple digital asset service providers betrayed the trust of their consumers by commingling investor funds with corporate assets, leading consumers to lose billions in their investments.
HB 1666 regulates digital asset service providers in the state of Texas to ensure consumer funds are secure and protected. It requires providers to ensure consumer funds are not comingled with corporate assets, keep adequate levels of reserves, always allow consumers to withdraw funds, and submit to yearly audits with the Department of Banking.
By the age of 80, 75% of people with Alzheimer’s live in a long-term care setting, compared with just 4% of the general population. The Alzheimer’s Association has noted that the single most important determinant of quality Dementia care across all care settings is direct care staff. These providers help shape the daily lives of people with Dementia and assist with all aspects of care. Current law states that assisted-living staff serving Alzheimer’s residents should be trained in Alzheimer’s, but does not specify content or number of hours.
HB 1673 requires assisted living facility employees receive an initial 4 hours of Dementia-training and 2 hours of continuing education annually.
In the 84th Legislative Session, I passed HB 1295 requiring governmental entities to file a disclosure of interested parties for certain contracts. In 2022, a development company sued a Texas city for breach of contract for not having a disclosure form on file and the judge found the contract to be void. With this ruling, the potential existed for any applicable government contract without a form on file to be found void.
HB 1817 allows for a cure period in a disclosure of interested parties form is not on file and allows governmental entities to come into compliance with the original law.
In 2019, the legislature passed 86(R) SB 64, which, among other things, encouraged state agencies to consider artificial intelligence (AI) systems. Since then, many agencies have used AI systems to streamline government services. However, as these applications have become more expansive the legislature has very few oversight tools to ensure these systems are developed in a responsible manner.
HB 2060 establishes the Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council to study and monitor the use of AI systems by state agencies in Texas. The council is tasked with assessing the need for a state code of ethics for AI systems in state government, making recommendations for administrative actions that state agencies can take without further legislative authorization, and making recommendations for the 89th Texas Legislature. Additionally, every state agency will complete an inventory report of all AI systems used and submit the reports to the council.
Many websites allow individuals to explore their familial heritage through at-home DNA testing kits. Our genetic information is the most personal identifying information we have. If a credit card number is stolen, the card can be cancelled. If a personal ID is stolen, a new one can be ordered. When our genetic information is shared to third-parties we did not consent to, that damage cannot be undone.
HB 2545 requires genetic testing companies to receive express consent from the consumer before sharing their genetic information with a third-party, using the genetic data for a purpose other than service purchased by the consumer, or retaining a sample after the testing is completed.
Food Trucks have become increasingly popular across Texas. Unlike traditional restaurants who apply for health department permits in just the city they are located, Mobile Food Trucks must apply for a separate permit in each municipality in which they wish to operate. In a time of inflation when margins are stretched thin, spending extra time and money on additional permits is a costly barrier to doing business for many of these vendors.
HB 2878 turns over the responsibility of inspecting Mobile Food Trucks solely to Tarrant County and allow them to issue one permit that would be valid in any municipality within the county.
Senate Bills Passed
Currently, the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) employees a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). The CISO assists state agencies and local governments in protecting their resources and provides digital risk management guidelines and requirements. The CISO also maintains the security of the State network and citizen confidence in government. However, this role is not defined in state statute.
SB 621 codifies the position, clarifying in statute that DIR employs a CISO with oversight over cybersecurity matters for the state.
The Texas Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act (ITEPA) requires certain businesses that experience a data breach to provide notice of the breach to affected individuals and the Texas Attorney General if the breach affects 250 or more Texans. Current law requires that notification within 60 days.
SB 768 reduces that timeline to within 30 days and requires notifications to the Attorney General to be submitted electronically.
In current practice, any unopposed candidate for office is declared elected and listed at the end of a voting ballot. Excluding the uncontested candidate from being listed on a ballot under the office for which they are running can be seen as a violation of the democratic principles of transparency, fairness, and inclusivity.
SB 1089 repeals the ability to declare unopposed candidates for office as elected and restores their names to the proper order on a ballot to maintain the integrity and credibility of the electoral process.
In 2019, the 85th Texas Legislature enacted legislation to allow for Remote Online Notarization with several safeguards in place including identity proofing and credential analysis. The current Remote Online Notary statute does not accommodate the use of a Remote Ink Notary, allowing a person to use a “wet ink” signature rather than an electronic signature. During the COVID pandemic, Governor Abbott provided a temporary accommodation in a proclamation allowing for Remote Ink Notary.
SB 1780 codifies the Governor's proclamation and allows for the continuous usage of Remote Ink Notary.
In some bond elections, voters will reject bond propositions placed on the ballot by their local governments. However, some local governments do not always follow the will of the voters and have tried to utilize alternative methods of finance, like Certificates of Obligation (COs) and Tax Anticipation Notes (TANs), to fund projects previously rejected by voters.
SB 2035 protects the will of the voters by prohibiting a taxing entity from issuing COs and TANs to finance a voter-rejected project within five years of a bond proposition's rejection.
This Concurrent Resolution honors and celebrates 500,000 Italian Americans who have chosen Texas as their home by designating June 2nd as Italian Heritage Day. By designating this important day, we recognize the important contributions Italian immigrants have made in building Texas communities and the economic, political, social, and cultural achievements of Italian Americans throughout our state.
General Appropriations Act
Several additions and improvements I offered to the General Appropriations Act passed and are a part of the state's 2023-2024 budget. Some of my specific high points across the budget:
Alzheimer's Disease Program
Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Grant Program
Nonprofit Security Grant Program of Texas
Amachi Texas - Big Brothers Big Sisters
Computer Science Pipeline Initiative
DFPS Business Process Redesign
Bills I Joint-Authored and Co-Authored
HB 3 Relating to measures for ensuring public school safety, including the development and implementation of purchases relating to and funding for public school safety and security requirements and the provision of safety-related resources.
HB 5 Relating to agreements authorizing a limitation on taxable value of certain property to provide for the creation of jobs and the generation of state and local tax revenue; authorizing fees; authorizing penalties.
HB 6 Relating to the designation of fentanyl poisoning or fentanyl toxicity for purposes of the death certificate and to the criminal penalties for certain controlled substance offenses; increasing a criminal penalty.
HB 8 Relating to public higher education, including the public junior college state finance program.
HB 9 Relating to the development and funding of broadband and telecommunications services.
HB 12 Relating to the duration of services provided under Medicaid to women following a pregnancy.
HB 14 Relating to third-party review of plats and property development plans, permits, and similar documents, and the inspection of an improvement related to such a document.
HB 17 Relating to official misconduct by and removal of prosecuting attorneys.
HB 18 Relating to the protection of minors from harmful, deceptive, or unfair trade practices in connection with the use of certain digital services and electronic devices, including the use and transfer of electronic devices to students by a public school.
HB 19 Relating to the creation of a specialty trial court to hear certain cases; authorizing fees.
HB 219 Relating to the release of a deed of trust or other contract lien securing a home loan after payoff by mortgagor.
HB 246 Relating to establishing a pilot program for recording ballot counting activity.
HB 357 Relating to the requirements to access the online tracker of an application for a ballot to be voted by mail and to the date of runoff elections.
HB 471 Relating to the entitlement to and claims for benefits for certain first responders and other employees related to illness and injury.
HB 568 Relating to education and training for peace officers on interacting with persons with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.
HB 900 Relating to the regulation of library materials sold to or included in public school libraries.
HB 968 Relating to procedures in certain suits affecting the parent-child relationship filed by the Department of Family and Protective Services.
HB 1217 Relating to the administration of and procedures relating to early voting by personal appearance.
HB 1393 Relating to an optional service retirement annuity that provides an increasing annuity under the Employees Retirement System of Texas.
HB 1755 Relating to the creation of the Lone Star Workforce of the Future Fund.
HB 2127 Relating to state preemption of and the effect of certain state or federal law on certain municipal and county regulation.
HB 2837 Relating to prohibiting a person or entity from surveilling, reporting, or tracking the purchase of firearms, ammunition, and accessories through the use of certain merchant category codes; imposing a civil penalty.
HB 2961 Relating to criminal responsibility for the conduct of a coconspirator.
HB 2969 Relating to prohibiting a maximum age or age differential for prospective adoptive parents.
Bills I Joint-Authored and Co-Authored (cont'd)
HB 3372 Relating to the reporting of political contributions, including in-kind contributions, and expenditures made using a credit card.
HB 4077 Relating to the procedure for qualifying for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of the residence homestead of an elderly person.
HB 4337 Relating to licenses and similar documents issued by certain foreign governments.
HB 4797 Relating to training on the treatment of toll project roadways during inclement weather.
HB 5012 Relating to the authority of certain municipalities to use certain tax revenue for hotel and convention center projects and other qualified projects.
HB 5174 Relating to the establishment and administration of the Texas Semiconductor Innovation Consortium.
HB 5358 Relating to the creation of the Ranger Ridge Municipal Utility District of Palo Pinto County; granting a limited power of eminent domain; providing authority to issue bonds; providing authority to impose assessments, fees, and taxes.
HJR 2 Proposing a constitutional amendment authorizing the 88th Legislature to provide a cost-of-living adjustment to certain annuitants of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
HJR 134 Proposing a constitutional amendment to abolish the office of county treasurer of Galveston County.
SB 10 Relating to certain benefits paid by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
SB 14 Relating to prohibitions on the provision to certain children of procedures and treatments for gender transitioning, gender reassignment, or gender dysphoria and on the use of public money or public assistance to provide those procedures and treatments.
SB 15 Relating to requiring public institution of higher education students who compete in intercollegiate athletic competitions to compete based on biological sex.
SB 24 Relating to the powers and duties of the Health and Human Services Commission and the transfer to the commission of certain powers and duties from the Department of Family and Protective Services.
SB 28 Relating to financial assistance provided and programs administered by the Texas Water Development Board.
SB 58 Relating to prohibitions in connection with the online sale of goods.
SB 379 Relating to an exemption from sales and use taxes for certain family care items.
SB 490 Relating to itemized billing for health care services and supplies provided by health care providers.
SB 1040 Relating to health benefit plan coverage of a transplant of an organ that originated from or is transplanted in a country known to have participated in forced organ harvesting.
SB 1045 Relating to the creation of the Fifteenth Court of Appeals with jurisdiction over certain civil cases, the compensation of the justices of that court, and the jurisdiction of the courts of appeals in this state.
SB 1639 Relating to prohibitions in connection with ticket sales on an Internet website; providing a civil penalty.
SB 1653 Relating to the punishment for the offense of promotion of prostitution.
SB 2144 Relating to advanced air mobility technology.