Nichols' first session a success
AUSTIN -- On Monday the 80th Legislative ended, which marked the end of a successful first session for Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville).
"Serving the people of Senate District 3 is a huge honor," said Nichols. "Working with my colleagues, I believe we passed many pieces of legislation that will benefit East Texas and the entire state."
As a former commissioner for the Texas Department of Transportation, Nichols served as a leader on critical transportation legislation. He proposed a two-year moratorium on private equity toll roads, which became a marquee issue for the legislative session.
"The moratorium is the wind in the sails of this session's transportation reforms," said Nichols. "In January, Texas faced advancing private toll road contracts that would hold our transportation system hostage for the next half-century. Now, a bill sits on the governor's desk which brings major protections and is a good first step to ultimate reform."
In addition to the moratorium, Nichols supported other key legislation including, increased funding for Texas state parks, strengthening penalties for child predators, extending additional property tax relief for senior citizens, empowering citizens to protect their home from invaders, and increasing benefits for retired teachers.
"I want to thank Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst for his strong leadership," said Nichols. "While it is impossible to address every issue in a single session, he pursued an agenda to help meet the needs of all Texans."
In addition to his work on state-wide issues, Nichols was able to accomplish many things specifically for his district. Some highlights include:
- passing legislation to keep the Texas State Railroad running and helping to secure $12 million in needed funding,
- securing authorization for $13 million in tuition revenue bonds for Stephen F. Austin State University for a new school of nursing,
- sponsoring legislation for the "Landowner Bill of Rights" which will help make sure that all landowners are aware of their rights when facing the threat of government taking their property,
- negotiating an agreement to keep Toledo Bend Reservoir at 168 feet,
- creating statutory authority for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to address hydrilla and other noxious weeds in Texas lakes,
- working with Rep. Brandon Creighton to help Walden residents address a problem with their deed restrictions
- passing legislation to create a new court-at-law for Montgomery County; and
- securing line-item funding for San Augustine's travel center.
"It's been a busy five months in Austin," said Nichols. "Now I'm ready to get back to the district to continue serving the citizens I represent."