From the newsletter sent April 16, 2021
We have officially entered the busiest part of session where we spend the majority of the day on the House Floor to debate, amend, and pass legislation, while still attending committee hearings for the next several weeks. These long days get even longer when controversial bills are introduced. As one might imagine, this week’s gun-related bills were the most contentious items up for discussion.
The Texas House passed “constitutional carry” or “permitless carry” earlier today in a bipartisan 87-58 vote. HB 1927 will ensure that Texans who are lawfully able to carry a handgun are able to do so for personal protection and for the protection of their family. There has been quite a bit of misinformation surrounding this piece of legislation, so I want to make sure that a few things are clear:
- It asserts the right of all law-abiding citizens age 21-and-older to carry a handgun in a holster in public places where it is not otherwise prohibited;
- It maintains background checks that are required when you purchase a gun at a retail store;
- It does nothing to affect laws related to the misuse of any firearm;
- It does not affect the right of business owners and private property owners to exclude handguns on their property in the same manner they do today;
I was proud to vote for this bill that allows law-abiding adults the freedom to better protect themselves and their families and hope the Senate passes it so that it can become law.
Changing gears, many people have been reaching out to our office over the past week rightfully concerned that the sudden value increase in their homes will mean a nasty surprise come tax time. While there is no guarantee this won’t happen, I would like to reintroduce you to a bill that became law last session that may very well keep many of you from having the kind of property tax increase you are fearing.
SB 2 from last session limits actual city and county property tax revenue growth to 3.5% UNLESS a higher amount is approved by voters (school district growth is limited to 2.5%). For example, if the overall property value increases by 8.5%, then the tax rate will automatically drop by at least 5% (to net a 3.5% increase). It’s important to note that this controls the TOTAL increase, not an increase of each single property. I’ve included more information below.
Finally, we’ve had plenty of movement on our bills this week, and I’ve included a brief update on the bills we advanced out of committee. I’m also excited to report that our bill finalizing the agreement between Midwestern State University and the Texas Tech System overwhelmingly passed the House. From here, Senator Springer will pick up the bill in the Senate and will no doubt carry it across the goal line.
May God bless you and your family,
James B. Frank