November was a busy month for Team Bucy! We spent time volunteering and giving thanks, wrote an op-ed on Medicaid expansion, and received interim charges. This edition of the monthly Bucy Bulletin will cover that as well as showcase community events, discuss legislative activity over the Interim, and highlight our Artist of the Month.
I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve you, HD 136, and the people of Texas. Please do not ever hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or comments or if there is anything my office can do for you.
All the best,
John Bucy III State Representative Texas House District 136
MEDICAID EXPANSION OP-ED
On the heels of recent headlines spelling out the dismal state of healthcare access in Texas, including the first increase in rate of uninsured persons since the passage of the Affordable Care Act and being the only state with a double-digit rate of uninsured children, I wrote the Austin American-Statesman arguing how Medicaid expansion would transform the lives of our fellow Texans. We know that Medicaid expansion is not the solution to all of Texas’ healthcare woes. But cutting the number of uninsured people by 25 percent is the biggest tool we have to begin tackling the problem immediately. Medicaid expansion would provide 1.4 million Texans with access to care, bring billions of dollars into our economy, lower all of our health insurance premiums, and save neighbors’ lives. You can read the full op-ed here.
COMMUNITY EVENTS & HAPPENING
Plumbers & Pipefitters: We had a great time meeting with Chap Thornton and Joe Cooper with the UA Local 286 Plumbers & Pipefitters and touring their training facility. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss skilled labor and how we can support this vital industry in Texas!
Rodney Reed Interviews: I spoke with Fox 7 and Capital Tonight about the bi-partisan efforts of the new House Criminal Justice Reform Caucus in calling for a reprieve for Rodney Reed so that new witnesses and forensic evidence can be examined.
Kicking Off the Season: It was an honor to deliver the game ball for the Austin Spurs season opener at theH-E-B Center at Cedar Park. Go Spurs Go!
Cedar Park AARP: I had a great meeting with the Cedar Park chapter of the AARP. We discussed the 2019 Legislative Session, ongoing advocacy efforts, and bill ideas that would benefit Texas seniors.
Veterans Ceremony: I spoke at the Veterans Ceremony in Cedar Park to convey my respect and gratitude for our nation’s veterans. For hundreds of years the men and women who have answered the call have defended our country with pride and valor and it was my honor to take time to recognize them and their families for their service.
Veterans Day in Leander: I attended the Veterans Day Ceremony in the city of Leander. Thanks to VFW Post 10427 Commander Mitch Fuller for your touching keynote address.
Taproom Talk: Thanks to the Hill Country News for having me out for yourTaproom Talk at Whitestone Brewery. Check out the write up of our discussion on Medicaid expansion, equal pay, and the Texas Promise below or watch the video here.
Honoring Freda Haworth Coate: It was our privilege to present Freda Haworth Coate with a Texas Flag flown over the Capitol in her honor and in commemoration of her 100th Birthday and service in the U.S. Army Nursing Corps during World War II.
Career Fair & Government Club: We had a great time at the Harmony School Career Fair and meeting with the Government Club to talk about the Legislature, civic engagement, and how to effectively advocate on issues that mattered to them.
Volunteering at the Food Bank: We volunteered alongside other offices within the Central Texas Delegation at the Central Texas Food Bank, processing 7,200 lb of pastries and bread and providing meals for 6,000 families in need.
HD 136 ARTIST OF THE MONTH
Each month at our Capitol Office we are so proud to display and feature work from local artists. Our NovemberArtist of the Month wasRachel Hurst, who loaned us her beautiful works of print on canvas Neon Fox,The Color of Elephants, and Harimau.
Interim Charges Late in November Speaker Dennis Bonnen released Interim Charges, or areas of study for various House Committees. Primarily, these charges focus on the implementation of policy from last session, related rule-making authority, and accessing legislative priorities for 2021. Over the course of the interim period, each committee will meet and take testimony on these matters from constituents and stakeholders in order to inform legislative action next session. Below are the Interim Charges for the House Committee on Election and the House Committee on Culture, Recreation & Tourism. You can read the full list here.
1) Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 86th Legislature. Conduct active oversight of all associated rule-making and other governmental actions taken to ensure intended legislative outcome of all legislation, including the following:
– HB 933, which requires election information to be posted on the Secretary of State’s (SOS) and each county’s internet website. Monitor the costs associated with implementing the legislation. Work with the SOS to determine which office elections should be included in the website postings based on costs and popularity of the office.
– HB 1421, which strengthens the cybersecurity of the state’s election infrastructure. Review the program required under the bill to train county election officers in the best practices for identifying and reducing cybersecurity threats.
– HB 2504, which modifies ballot access requirements for non-major party nominees. Review the provision requiring the SOS to establish rules implementing the fees and petitions.
– HB 4130, which requires the SOS to develop procedures for adequately certifying electronic poll books. Review the provision requiring the secretary of state to adopt rules mandating real-time updates for electronic poll book use during the early voting period or under the countywide polling place program. Monitor and report on countywide polling. Examine the number and location of polling places, polling booths, and wait times for voting.
2) Make recommendations for establishing best practices for conducting an election during a declared disaster. Examine model legislation and statutes from other states pertaining to voting during a declared disaster when polls are inaccessible.
3) Evaluate election laws with the purpose of strengthening voter integrity and fair elections. Perform an in-depth study of the voter registration processes and explore whether centralizing voter registration would be more effective than today’s processes. Consider ways to improve voter list maintenance and study the volunteer deputy registrar process and voter registration procedures in other states. Include in the evaluation a review of the state’s curbside voting protocols and identify processes to improve the efficiency, privacy, and security of curbside voting.
4) Monitor the State Auditor’s review of agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction. The Chair shall seek input and periodic briefings on completed audits for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years and bring forth pertinent issues for full committee consideration.
Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee
1) Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 86th Legislature. Conduct active oversight of all associated rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure intended legislative outcome of all legislation, including the following:
– HB 1300 and HB 2321, which relate to the regulation of oyster harvesting and to cultivated oyster mariculture. Monitor the implementation of the cultivated oyster mariculture program, the implementation of increased penalties related to the regulation of oyster harvesting, and the effectiveness of these state laws as related to the protection, conservation, and sustainability of oysters in Texas coastal waters.
– HB 1422, which is the Texas Historical Commission (THC) sunset legislation. Monitor the implementation and transfer of certain historical sites from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to the THC, including any additional land acquired by the TPWD and the appropriate coordination with local entities.
– SB 1511, which requires the TPWD to contract with a nonprofit organization for the operation and maintenance of the Battleship “Texas.” Monitor the efforts to restore the Battleship “Texas” consistent with state law and historic preservation guidelines.
2) Study the impact of the Capitol Complex Master Plan and ongoing construction as it relates to the operation and management of the Texas State History Museum, specifically its visitor admissions, educational programming, exhibit space, and facility rental. Examine the connectivity of the Capitol Complex Master Plan Mall area to ensure a consistent, dynamic, and sustainable relationship with the State Preservation Board, Texas State History Museum, and Texas State Capitol in its programming and use. Evaluate the infrastructure needs of the Texas State Capitol and the Capitol Visitors Center to ensure the ongoing preservation and operational needs of the historical structures and grounds. (Joint charge with the House Committee on House Administration)
3) Evaluate the status of the historical marker application process and the production of cast metal historical markers in the state as overseen by the THC. Examine options for future state historical markers, including technology such as laser etching and durable materials other than metal.
4) Study the effectiveness of hunter education courses with regard to hunters and firearm safety in the state. Explore additional firearm safety resources and their potential use by the TPWD to reduce accidental shootings.
5) Review the effectiveness of the State Historic Preservation Tax Credit on preserving historic structures and revitalizing Texas communities since the tax credit became effective.
6) Monitor the State Auditor’s review of agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction. The Chair shall seek input and periodic briefings on completed audits for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years and bring forth pertinent issues for full committee consideration.