Davis Accomplishes Much for Texas Families in First Session
Freshman Senator Named "Rookie of the Year" for Fearlessly Tackling Tough Issues,
Says Real Winners are Her District 10 Constituents
AUSTIN - With the dust just settling after the 81st legislative session adjourned Sine Die late Monday, Texas Monthly today named freshman Senator Wendy Davis "Rookie of the Year." Senator Davis took the opportunity to reflect on the legislation she had passed on behalf of the families in her home district, and across Texas.
"That old rule that freshmen are supposed to stay quiet? She proved it can be ignored if you're smart, tough, and well prepared," Texas Monthly wrote.
"All of the measures we worked so hard on were designed to maintain or improve our state's standing as a great place to live, work, and raise a family," Senator Davis said. "Of course, I'm honored that Texas Monthly has named me Rookie of the Year, but my greatest honor is that my constituents back home in Tarrant County deemed me worthy of representing them in the Texas Senate. The concerns that so many families voiced to me formed the basis of my legislative agenda, so my hat is off to them for helping us work toward positive solutions to those concerns."
Among the successful legislation carried by Senator Davis:
- Allowing Natural Gas Gathering Lines in TxDOT Rights-of-Way - a hard-won compromise between pipeline operators, local governments, and TxDOT, this bill would allow gas lines to be placed in highway rights-of-way, helping reduce the need for condemnation of private property.
- Protecting Consumers from Unexpected Electricity Rate Hikes - an amendment to consumer legislation that would require electric retailers to notify their customers in writing before a fixed-rate contract expires.
- Increasing Transparency at the State Board of Education - would require SBOE meetings to be publicly broadcast on the internet, allowing voters to monitor the work of their representatives
- Helping Children Who Are Aging Out of Foster Care Transition into Adulthood - bill would require the Department of Family and Protective Services to provide children aging out of the foster care system with their personal records and identification documents before they leave the system, rather than with 30 days after they leave the system as is currently law.
- Renewing Crime Control and Prevention Districts - would better align election dates for local Crime Control and Prevention Districts with current uniform election dates, assuring that existing CCPDs don't experience a gap in funding.
- Streamlining Motor Vehicle Registration Fees at TxDOT - worked with Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John Carona to pass a bill that would reduce number of different registration fees from over 1600 to fewer than 20, and is expected to reduce the cost to taxpayers of a new computer registration program being designed by TxDOT.
- Preventing Bacterial Meningitis Outbreaks in Colleges - a piece of legislation passed as an amendment that would require incoming college freshmen and transfers to be vaccinated for bacterial meningitis
- Criminal Background Checks in Health Care Facilities - bill would add long-term medical care facilities, such as cancer care facilities, to the list of facilities that must perform criminal background checks on employees for patient safety
Among the measures that Senator Davis fought to pass through the Senate, but which stalled in the House of Representatives:
- "Green Completions" of natural gas wells drilled in the Barnett Shale - bill would require operators in the Barnett Shale to employ an existing, cost-effective technology to minimize the release of gas and associated vapors into the air
- Regulation of Injection Wells for Disposal of Gas Drilling Wastewater - bill would protect natural water resources by restricting the geological formations into which disposal wells could be placed
- Discouraging Bad Faith Cancellations of Health Insurance Policies - bill would prevent health insurers from paying their employees commissions or bonuses based on how many policies they can get cancelled for pre-existing conditions
- Instituting a Study on the Practice of Data Mining in the Insurance Industry - would direct a study of the mining of personal information by insurance companies, giving regulators the tools they need to ensure that the information gathered is not being used unethically and does not put unsuspecting consumers at increased risk of identity theft
"It was a challenging legislative session, but I am proud of the accomplishments we made on behalf of Texas families, and I am looking forward to continuing this work in the interim and future legislative sessions," Senator Davis said.