CAPITOL UPDATE
From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
June 12, 2007

JUNE CAPITOL UPDATE

Dear Fellow Texan--

The 80th Legislature adjourned on Monday, May 28, capping a 140-day lawmaking session that I would describe as a productive session for Senate District 24.

It was a very dynamic and positive session for all Texans, but particularly for Senate District 24. The Legislature addressed the Trans-Texas Corridor, reformed the Texas Youth Commission and passed a budget that adequately provides for higher education, children's health care, and property owners.

You may recall, last year the Legislature reduced school property tax rates for most homeowners by one-third over two years. This year the Legislature provided the additional $14 billion needed to implement the second step in the property tax cuts. The measure also directs the Comptroller to set aside between $2 billion and $3 billion of the state's surplus for property tax relief in future years.

Because of the growth in our state's economy, we were able to continue the promise of lower local property taxes. The budget we passed provides additional property tax relief that we committed to last June.

This month I want to give you an idea of what we did during session, particularly for Senate District 24.

Other major bills passed by the Legislature include:

Now let me share with you some of the work we did for Senate District 24:

Kerrville - HB 654

Brownwood - HB 1930

Abilene and Goldthwaite - SB 3

Killeen - HB 317 & HB 589

Temple (and other cities) - SB 1536

Stephenville - HB 462 & SB 714

Burnet - SB 1533

Brady (and others) - HB 556

Llano - HB 890 & SB 213

Junction - HB 1700

Senate District 24 and the Budget
Here is a breakdown of some of the new money SD 24 received in the budget:

LASTLY

The electric consumers of Texas lost a battle this session for better protections against market abuse and high electric rates. I am extremely disappointed that Senate Bill 482 did not pass and become law. This bill would have protected consumers against market abuse, helped lower rates, and encouraged consumer choice of retail electric providers.

At the beginning of this session, I believe everyone agreed changes needed to be made to our electric market to help increase competitive forces. I authored legislation that sought to make changes to our deregulated market. With the demise of Senate Bill 482, we failed to make the appropriate corrections when it comes to competition in the electricity market.

The bill included several provisions that would have protected our most vulnerable citizens from high electric rates. The bill prohibited the disconnection of elderly and other low-income customers, as well as prohibited electric providers from charging deposits to elderly low-income customers. It also expanded the customers eligible for discounts under the System Benefit Fund.

SB 482 provided remedies that the Public Utility Commission (PUC) could implement if a company was found to have abused the market, including fines of $1 million per day, per violation. Additionally, the bill allowed the PUC to review and approve any transaction involving the sale or merger of a regulated transmission company. These provisions would have ensured that a company could not manipulate the market to its benefit and to the detriment of electric consumers.

It is unfortunate that the large electric companies and a few disenchanted House members were blinded by the profits from high electricity rates and speaker politics and were successful in killing this consumer-friendly legislation.

Consumers of this state deserve to be treated fairly and Senate Bill 482 would have made changes to our deregulated market to make that happen.

CONCLUSION

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need assistance with a state agency or wish to voice an opinion on any matter before the Texas Legislature. I always appreciate hearing from you.

I hope to see you soon.

Sincerely,

Troy Fraser
State Senator
District 24

HOW TO CONTACT SENATOR TROY FRASER
Austin Capitol Office
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711
(512) 463-0124
FAX: (512) 475-3732
Marble Falls District Office
607 B Highway 281 North
Marble Falls, Texas 78654
(830) 693-9900
FAX: (830) 693-9603
Abilene District Office
500 Chestnut Street, Suite 810
Abilene, Texas 79602
(325) 676-7404
FAX: (325) 676-8060
Belton District Office
1920 North Main Street
Suite 101
Belton, Texas 76513
(254) 939-3562
FAX: (254) 939-7611
Email: troy.fraser@senate.state.tx.us

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