What's new . . .
Now that the 3rd Special Session of the 78th Texas Legislature has come to an end, we have finalized a congressional redistricting plan for our state. Much has been said about the merits of this process, but it is now the subject of the Justice Department and the courts as anticipated legal challenges have already been filed.
While redistricting took the media focus, we did take the opportunity of the special session to handle other business. House Bill 2 (HB2) clarified the use of funds collected through the Texas Driver Responsibility Program and directed the funds to the state's trauma care centers and the Texas Mobility Fund.
House Bill 7 (HB7) covered a host of reorganization measures in an effort to make certain state agencies operate more efficiently and offer more streamlined, user-friendly services. With the support of Rep. Bill Keffer in the House, I was successful in attaching an amendment to HB7 to prevent sexually oriented businesses (SOB's) from obtaining private club permits in "dry" areas. This is especially important in our district as the City of Dallas has successfully closed a number of SOB's in Dallas and they are now seeking to relocate. As residents in the western part of our district celebrate the closing of such undesirable neighbors, residents in the eastern part of the district have begun to fight against new establishments. This tool will be helpful in many areas, across the cities in our district, and across the state.
Focus . . .
Identity crime has increased significantly in the last decade, and while it may be impossible to prevent it entirely, awareness and prevention can help reduce the likelihood that an identity crime will occur. Everyday transactions reveal bits of your personal information, and an identity thief will use your information to commit fraud or theft and to ruin your credit record.
Some methods used by thieves to steal your identity include stealing records from their employers, rummaging through your trash or trash of businesses, hacking into computers, and even stealing incoming/outgoing mail.
Some things you can do to minimize your risk of identity theft include checking your credit reports once a year, destroy or shred mail or documents with personal information including pre-approved credit card applications and convenience checks, do not carry your social security card in your wallet, and be wary of promotional scams.
If your identity has been stolen, you should contact the fraud department of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit file, close all accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently, file a police report, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
For more information about identity theft, visit
www.consumer.gov/idtheft - Federal Trade Commission (877-IDTHEFT)
www.oag.state.tx.us/consumer/idtheft.shtml - Texas Office of the Attorney General (800-621-0508)
Did you know . . .
Did you know that NASA has an annual program, Texas Aerospace Scholars, an education program that offers high school juniors the opportunity to participate in a science-, math-, and engineering-based distance learning program, and features an all-expense paid, week long summer residential experience at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston? Students are recommended for the program by their state legislator. Eligible students are required to meet the following criteria:
-At least 16 years of age
-Currently a high school junior
-Interest in science, math, or engineering
-Able to commit to a relationship with JSC, including a one-week residential experience during -the summer
-Access to the internet and email (home, school, or public library)
As a State Senator, I am guaranteed to place only two qualified students in the program and one alternate. However, I will forward all complete applications for qualified students to the Texas Aerospace Scholars program for consideration. For more information or an application you can visit http://aerospacescholars.jsc.nasa.gov/ . For residents of SD16, we have extended the deadline but you should have your completed application to my office no later than November 10, 2003 for consideration. Mail your application to my Austin office at P.O. Box 12068, Austin, Texas, 78711.
Have a great month!
State Senator - District 16