Column from Senator Robert Nichols

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 29, 2014
Contact: Steven Albright
(512) 463-0103

My five cents...
A monthly column from Sen. Robert Nichols
by Sen. Robert Nichols, Senate District 3

On June 14th, we will commemorate the U.S. Congress adoption of a flag with 13 stars and stripes to represent our nation and our founding colonies, with the stars set on a blue background to "represent a new constellation" in the night sky. While the stars in our current flag have changed to 50, the pride behind our flag has not. It has been a symbol of strength and freedom, as well as a sign of remembrance for those we have lost.

Here our five things happening around your state:

1. Interim Process

As the Texas Legislature is a part time legislature, meeting in odd-numbered years for just 140 days, a limited amount of time is available for laws to be passed. The interim provides the Legislature time to study and examine issues, provide suggestions for solutions and build consensus on potential legislation for the next session.

Senate committees will begin to hold hearings over the interim charges which have been assigned to them. Committee hearings provide an opportunity for the public to take part in the legislative process by testifying on the issues discussed. I always welcome input from my constituents on any topic that we are studying and will keep you informed as to the different topics being addressed.

2. House Energy Resources Sub-Committee

A series of earthquakes across Texas have raised questions of whether oil and gas activity on known fault lines were to blame for the seismic activity. The House Energy Resources Subcommittee on Seismic Activity recently held a hearing to study these conditions. They specifically looked at the possibility increased exploration and disposal wells could impact seismic activity. Recently, the Texas Railroad Commission hired a seismologist to gather and study data resulting from the activity. Though there are no definite findings, the Legislature and Railroad Commission will continue to monitor these earthquakes.

3. Prevent 'Title Washing'

When buying a used vehicle, there is a risk of buying a vehicle which has been wrecked, rebuilt or flooded, when you think you are getting a great car. 'Title washing' occurs when a car is sold in one state with a clean title, but has negative information on the title from another state in its history. By processing all motor vehicle title applications through the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles hopes to prevent this. NMVTIS produces a title history report that shows where and what states the vehicle was titled, while also showing whether something in the cars history could affect the vehicles safety and/or value.

To do a title check on your vehicle, simply:

For questions, call TxDMV at 1 (888) 368-4689.

4. Preserving Texas History

From its founders to numerous historical sites, Texas is a state full of history. The Texas Historical Commission is currently accepting applications for undertold markers, representing an untold or undertold aspects of Texas history across the state. Funding received will assist by paying for the placement of a historical marker, or assisting with necessary research to qualify for a marker. More than 15,000 markers have been placed throughout the state commemorating the history and architecture of houses and public buildings, events that changed the course of local and state history and individuals who have made lasting contributions to Texas.

Nominations for undertold markers are currently being accepted through June 15, 2014. For more information please visit www.thc.state.tx.us or contact the agency's History Programs Division at 512-463-5853.

5. Summertime in Texas

As the temperatures begin to rise, school is out and people make plans for the summer, I wanted to give you some tips on what you can do in our state. To start, you can visit the Texas Travel Guide online at www.traveltex.com, which is a compilation of attractions, events and places to stay all across the state, including your Texas State Capitol. I encourage you to visit your Senate District 3 office. If I am not there to greet you, my staff would be happy to meet with you.

If you are looking for an outdoor adventure, you can visit on of the four Texas state parks located in Senate District 3: Mission Tejas State Park (Houston County); Lake Livingston State Park (Polk County); Martin Dies, Jr. State Park (Jasper County); and Village Creek State Park (Hardin County).

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