Eleventh in an ongoing series
With the 86th session of the Texas Legislature in the rear view mirror, we wondered, what have freshmen legislators accomplished? Where did they failed?
Reform Austin looked into a few of the House and Senate freshmen bills, votes, and social media accounts to determine how some took charge and made progress this session.
HD 004 – Keith Bell (R- Forney)
Accomplishment: Filed HB 4106, which increased the prosecution and punishment of those who harm others while intoxicated
Failure: Voted ‘Nay’ on HB 467, which allowed existing continuing education programs for licensed cosmetologists to include information to spot sexual assault and domestic violence awareness holders to be able to spot signs of sexual assault and domestic violence.
HD 008 – Cody Harris (R – Palestine)
Accomplishment: Authored the most freshmen bills (3) sent to the governor
Failure: Voted ‘Nay’ on HB 744, which covered more women after pregnancy to reduce the maternal mortality rate.
HD 013 – Ben Leman (R – Anderson)
Accomplishment: Had HB 1992 sent to the governor, which would prohibit telemarketers from misleading callers with information or the origin of the call
Failure: Voted ‘Nay’ on HB 25, which gave medicaid coverage of transportation to prenatal and postpartum doctor’s visits with children.
HD 015 – Steve Toth (R – The Woodlands)
Accomplishment: Filed the most bills (56) out of all the freshmen legislators.
Failure: Voted ‘Nay’ on HB 2613 from directing forfeiture proceeds from the prosecution of trafficking-related crimes to trafficking victim services and other bills addressing women’s issues.
HD 023 – Mayes Middleton (R – Wallisville)
Accomplishment: Filed HB 1473 to increase transparency by requiring the disclosure of certain relationships with local government officers and vendors
Failure: Voted ‘Nay’ on state contract limitations and programs for sex trafficking prevention and victim treatment.
HD 045 – Erin Zwiener (D – Driftwood)
Accomplishment: A first-time legislator and mother who worked hard in both areas
Failure: All of the 50 bills she filed, died.
HD 047 – Vikki Goodwin (D – Austin)
Accomplishment: Filed HB 1182, which would include personal financial literacy courses for high school students in public schools.
Failure: HB 1182 was left pending in committee in the Senate and died
HD 052 – James Talarico (D – Round Rock)
Accomplishment: Walked the entire length of Texas House District 52 to talk with real people about real issues.
Failure: HB 2998, which referred to getting the lead out of school water fountains, did not pass
HD 065 – Michelle Beckley (D – Carrollton)
Accomplishment: Filed HB 1645 which increased a health benefit plan coverage of pre-existing conditions
Failure: None of her 22 bills made it onto the House floor for a debate
HD 079 – Art Fierro (D – El Paso)
Accomplishment: Filed a number of bills to make voting easier and accessible to Texans
Failure: Voted against increasing the legal age to purchase cigarettes to 21
SD 06 – Carol Alvarado (D – Houston)
Accomplishment: Nine out of her 61 bills were sent to the governor
Failure: SB 796, which would have disclosed information if a residential property was susceptible to flooding, died.
SD 08 – Angela Paxton (R – McKinney)
Accomplishment: Sponsored HB 72 to ensure high-needs children with severe medical conditions maintain medical coverage by allowing adoptive parents to retain their current STAR healthcare plan
Failure: Filed SB 860, which would directly benefit her husband by giving him and the state agency he leads, the ability to exempt entrepreneurs from certain state regulations, which he is currently under indictments for having done in the past
SD 19 – Pete Flores (R – Pleasanton)
Accomplishment: Filed SB 1064 to increase the offense of passing certain vehicles on a highway, such as an emergency vehicle.
Failure: Voted for a voter suppression bill with SB 9