HIGHLIGHTS OF REPRESENTATIVE FRULLO'S LEGISLATIVE ACTION
A major accomplishment of the 82nd legislative session was the unanimous passage of HB 3746, otherwise known as Alicia’s Law. The bill, my biggest initiative of the session, gives the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces administrative subpoena power to combat child pornography and sexual abuse. Alicia’s Law was named after Alicia Kozakeiwicz, who at age 13, was contacted by a predator through the internet, abducted and held for four days in a basement where she was tortured. These kinds of crimes are the fastest growing class of crimes in our country. More than 30,000 indvidual computers in Texas were identified by the Department of Justice as trafficking in sadistic images of children being raped and tortured. This must stop; we must give our law enforcement the tools they need to go after these predators!
Key Conservative Initiatives
The Legislature passed several key conservative initiatives during the 82nd Legislative Session. One of those was SB 14, otherwise known as the Voter ID bill. This bill was very important to protect the integrity of the election process by addressing requirements to vote, including presenting a form of photo identification to vote. HB 15 was another key issue, requiring a sonogram prior to obtaining an abortion as part of the informed consent process, except in the case of a medical emergency. Life is precious and HB 15 will ensure women receive complete information before making a life changing decision. We addressed lawsuit abuse by passing HB 274 to help reduce frivolous lawsuits and expedite legitimate ones. Frivolous lawsuits threaten the health of our businesses across the state. We want laws that promote a friendly business environment in Texas.
Support for Veterans
We are all deeply grateful for our veterans and the price they pay to protect our freedom and security. I authored HB 3580 to create a specialty license plate for surviving spouses of disabled veterans. We also passed SB 516, extending the ad valorem tax exemption for disabled veterans to their surviving spouses. Let’s all continue to find ways to support our veterans.
2nd Amendment Right (Right to Bear Arms)
Several bills were introduced this session related to our 2nd Amendment rights. We passed SB 321 allowing those with concealed handgun licenses to store handguns in vehicles in workplace parking lots. Our constitutional rights have been under attack and we must do all we can to protect them. We will continue to ensure Texans maintain the freedom we’ve been given since the birth of this great nation.
Tier-One Status for Texas Tech University
I joint-authored HB 1000, which creates a distribution system for the National Research University fund, a very important bill for Texas Tech University. This will facilitate greater
research opportunities for students and recognition of the universities in Texas that are making great strides in various research arenas.
When I was elected, it was a priority to look for ways we could save taxpayer dollars. I sponsored several bills that will help the City of Lubbock save money and increase efficiency, SB 577 and SB 422. I joint-authored several pieces of legislation that help state agencies save money by allowing everything from the leasing of state parking spaces which ended up SB 1068, allowing private contributions and partnerships for projects in our state parks, HB 1300, and giving the Facilities Commission the ability to accept grants and gifts, HB 2769. In addition, HB 1781 will do away with redundant and obsolete reporting requirements for state agencies. It is a privilege sitting on the Committee on Government Reform and Efficiency where we look at an array of ideas to ensure your taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely and efficiently.
The single issue that overshadowed all others this session was balancing the budget. Although Texas is faring far better than other states, our recovery from the recession has still been far too slow in coming. Before coming to Austin this session, I made a commitment to balance the budget without raising taxes, and that is exactly what the Legislature accomplished in the final plan for state spending. Accomplishing that was no easy task, considering the fact that under performing sales tax revenues and rising education and healthcare costs contributed to a significant shortfall.
Rather than enacting across the board cuts, we took the time to carefully consider and prioritize each budget item, so that we could ensure this budget would offer the most help for Texans and our economy to continue to improve. The overall budget (all funds) is $172.3 billion, which is $15.2 billion less than that spent for the 2010-11 biennium.