Senator Craig Estes Pleased with Success of 78th Session
AUSTIN -- State Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) said he was pleased with the accomplishments of the 78th Session of the Texas Legislature highlighted by passage of a balanced state budget without new taxes, meaningful homeowners insurance reform, and medical liability and lawsuit reform.
"After the dust settles on this 140-day regular session, I think the vast majority of Texans will be proud of what we accomplished in our efforts to maintain and improve our state as a great place to live, work, and go to school," Estes said.
"A lot of the credit for this session's success goes to the leadership, and I considered it a great privilege to work alongside Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, who did a spectacular job in his first session at the helm of the Texas Senate," Estes said.
Dewhurst praised the work ethic and businessman's approach to state government that Estes exhibited during his first session in the Senate.
"Senator Estes proved himself to be a hard-working statesman, very committed to the process of passing good legislation. He did an outstanding job of representing his North Texas constituents in Senate District 30 while balancing what is best for all Texans," Dewhurst said. "His leadership, personal integrity, and ability to craft compromise exemplifies what our founding fathers had in mind when they established our citizen-legislature."
Estes said decisions driven by the budget proved to be the most challenging of the session.
"When the Texas Legislature convened in January, we were confronted with a $10 billion budget shortfall, a constitutional requirement to balance the budget and a mandate from the voters to avoid raising taxes. The challenge for lawmakers and the public was how to balance the desire to provide services to those in need, limit the size and scope of government, and keep taxes low to strengthen our economy. That was the major hurdle of the session, but we accomplished it," Estes said.
Other highlights of the session included legislation to lower homeowners insurance rates, lawsuit reforms to keep doctors practicing medicine, increased funding for public education, and a multibllion dollar transportation improvement package.
"I am also proud to have been a co-author of Senate Bill 10 which allows small businesses to form group health cooperatives for the purpose of obtaining health coverage for their employees with benefits similar to those enjoyed by larger companies," Estes said.
"Overall, I would say it was a very good, very productive, and very positive session. As with all sessions, there were a few bumps in the road, but we managed to work through the major challenges to lay a stronger foundation for what I see as a prosperous future for our state. I am glad to have been a part of the 78th Session, and I'm anxious to continue working on the challenges ahead during the interim or during any special sessions that might be called by Governor Perry," Estes said.
# # #