Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

For Immediate Release
February 26, 2003
Contact: Lewis Simmons
Phone: (512) 463-0130

Estes Files Legislation on Variety of Issues

AUSTIN -- State Senator Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, filed multiple pieces of legislation this week including measures that would save money, improve the environment, help employers and employees, reward state peace officers, and expand educational opportunities.

Senate Bill 677 would remove the requirement for front licenses plates on state-owned vehicles which would result in significant savings.

"Given the state's current budget challenges, all possible areas of savings should be considered. The removal of front license plates from state-owned vehicles would provide substantial savings to the state and its political subdivisions," Estes sad.

Senate Bill 673 would exempt from state sales taxes the purchase of electric lawnmowers purchased in air quality non-attainment areas of the state.

"These areas desperately need to further reduce emissions or risk losing federal highway dollars. This legislation would encourage the purchase and use of cleaner-operating electric lawnmowers," Estes.

Senate Bill 675 would serve to maintain the exclusive remedy of workers' compensation insurance for workers injured on the job. Texas Association of Business reports that some injured workers have sued parent corporations while collecting benefits under a workers' compensation insurance policy offered by a subsidiary of the parent company, despite the fact that both companies are included on the same workers' compensation insurance policy.

"These types of cases seriously impact the exclusive remedy benefit of workers' compensation, and make the benefits of having workers' compensation much less lucrative for employers. This is bad for employers and employees, who without workers' compensation may have to wait until the adjudication of lengthy trial cases in order to receive benefits that they would be paying for out of pocket all along," Estes said. "Corporate structure should not serve as a windfall for trial lawyers, and this legislation would clearly state that the exclusive remedy of workers' compensation insurance extends up and down the corporate ladder."

Senate Bill 674 would allow all state peace officers to accrue compensatory time when a state holiday falls on a weekend. All State of Texas employees are allowed to accrue compensatory time when they work on a holiday; however, current state law only permits compensatory time to be earned for holidays that fall during the traditional Monday-Friday work week.

"Peace officers work different days of the week and are shortchanged if a major holiday falls on the weekend and they are not allowed to accrue compensatory time in a manner similar to those who accrue compensatory time if the holiday falls during the week," Estes said.

Senate Bill 676 would expand the Weatherford College Service District Area to include Hood County, which currently is not assigned to a specific community college district. Weatherford College officials have expressed an interest in expanding the service area to include satellite facilities in Hood County. Companion legislation, House Bill 577, as been filed by State Rep. Phil King of Weatherford.

"This legislation would help meet the needs of people in Parker and Hood counties by expanding educational opportunities, increasing enrollment, and enabling the state to reach its higher education goals," Estes said.

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