The Texas State Senate - Rodney Ellis Press Releases
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis
For Immediate Release
November 10, 2008
Contact: Tina Tran, 512-217-5882
Senator Ellis Early Files Comprehensive Bill Package
November 10, 2008 (AUSTIN) - State Senator Rodney Ellis filed an extensive bill package on the first day of early filing for the 81st Texas Legislative Session.
"The people of Texas have serious needs that demand serious solutions. That's why I'm going to fight for a comprehensive legislative package to promote educational opportunities for all Texans, provide access to quality healthcare, implement smart energy policies, and improve our criminal justice system," said Senator Ellis.
Senator Ellis' comprehensive legislative package includes:
Senator Ellis' education bills reflect his continuous emphasis on expanding quality educational opportunities in Texas, from early childhood to higher education.
- SB 104, which will make college more affordable, requiring legislative approval for tuition increases beyond 2008-2009. Tuition rates have spiked by an average of 60% at public universities in Texas since the Legislature deregulated tuition five years ago.
- SB 122, makes pre-kindergarten available to all students.
Senator Ellis introduced a package of bills to improve fairness in the Texas criminal justice system and to prevent wrongful convictions in Texas. The "innocence protection package" includes:
- SB 117, to increase the accuracy and reliability of eyewitness identification procedures;
- SB 116, to require video recording of custodial interrogations;
- SB 115, to establish an Innocence Commission to investigate wrongful convictions; and,
- SB 169, to give the governor power to grant multiple reprieves in capital cases to prevent the execution of an innocent person.
In Ellis' ongoing commitment to the men and women who have served this country in the military, he also introduced:
- SB 113, to provide in-state tuition for higher education to veterans and their dependants; and,
- SB 112, to establish diversion programs for veterans and military personnel whose offenses were affected by a combat-related brain injury or mental illness, including post-traumatic stress disorder.
Energy and Environment
Senator Ellis filed over a dozen energy and environmental bills, including:
- SB 108, to create a Texas Green Jobs Skills Development Program. This bill intends to take advantage of Texas' potential for growth in the renewable energy and energy efficiency markets to bring thousands of new green jobs to Texas.
- SB 128, SB 130, and SB 133 gives tax breaks for green buildings, hybrid and electric cars and renewable energy devices like solar panels and geothermal heat pumps.
Senator Ellis introduced a package of bills relating to the insurance industry to ensure Texans receive fair and reasonable coverage for their property. This package includes:
- SB 110, to prohibit the insurance industry from utilizing credit scores to determine policyholders' rates;
- SB 147, to ensure coverage for losses incurred as a result of compliance with mandatory evacuation orders;
- SB 106, providing the Commissioner of the Texas Department of Insurance with the ability to utilize prior approval on insurance rates that are deemed to be excessive; and,
- SB 149, to expand the FAIR plan to include commercial property insurance coverage;
- SB 148, requires low-income community investments by insurers; and,
- SB 150, to provide that Texans received a fair and actual cost for insurance claims.
- Senator Ellis filed SB 107, a comprehensive health care bill that aims to make quality health insurance affordable and accessible to all hardworking Texas families.
The health care package also includes:
- SB 146 and SB 151, to promote transparency in the pharmaceutical drug market;
- SB 109, which adds consumer protection principles to the Texas Department of Insurance's list of duties; and,
- SB 152 and SB 153, to increase fairness in medical liability claims.
- Senator Ellis filed SB 139 to protect the integrity of elections by increasing penalties for deceptive election practices and SB 143 limiting political contributions.
- Ellis also filed SB 118 to allow eligible voters to register during early voting periods and SB 138 to make election day a state holiday.