I've been asking people if they're paying attention to the bills being filed and what they might mean to them individually, our communities and Texas as a whole.
Most don't have a clue or aren't paying close enough attention to what some of these pieces of legislation would mean to their immediate cities, towns, or communities.
While there are some great bills which have been submitted for the start of the 88th session by Bryan Slaton, Nate Schatzline and a few others, there are some representatives who've decided they're going to do what they want regardless of anything "we the people" have asked them to do.
Take my own Representative Justin Holland; not a single bill has been submitted on any of our legislative priorities. Out of the 8 bills he has filed, 5 are for real estate with one being especially important that I'll get to shortly.
Representative Justin Holland has filed 1 bill relating to a border operations training program, another relating to the authority of a county to require photo ID to file certain documents with a county clerk (which Holland and Senator Halls offices were both asked to file companion bills by the Rockwall County clerk), and the last one relating to Medicaid reimbursement for certain medication-assisted treatments for opioid or substance use disorder.
All in all, these don't sound so bad...except these aren't dealing with anything that we asked him to focus on. I don't have a problem with him filing items relating to real estate, after all that is his profession.
If I had won, I would have bills filed about cybersecurity since that is my profession and area of expertise. But I would have started with bills relating to the Legislative Priorities since that is why they're called "priorities".
It would be nice if Holland did something (anything) regarding our Legislative Priorities since he campaigned on them. Ok, I know he stated he doesn't have to listen to the SREC or RPT, but when he ran as a Republican and we elected him as our Republican representative, we expect him to actually do what we elected him to do. Am I right?
Okay, let me get to the real estate item I mentioned earlier. It is HB-1514 and let me explain why it is upsetting so many people.
Simply put - it takes control out of the hands of citizens when it comes to protesting zoning changes and gives it to city officials and developers.
Yes, you read that right! This bill makes it harder for Texans to fight any proposed zoning changes that could impact communities and property values.
As it is written today, a zoning protest must be written and signed by the owners of at least 20 percent of either.
Holland's bill wants to change that 20% up to 50%. Think about that, it's hard enough just getting 20% of the people to the polls to vote, now imagine trying to get 50% of them to sign something to protest an adjacent zoning change. It'll never happen and Holland knows it.
If this bill passes, it'll turn Texas into a developer's playground. They'll be able to woo, entice, and influence local officials all over the state with promises of increased tax revenues and booming economies.
They can do this without so much as a care to what it would actually do to those towns and communities where the people are fighting to keep Texas from being excessively developed and over-developed like California was.
This bill will make it easier for the developers not you and me, and it needs to be defeated.
What can people do about this? They can contact their State Reps and Senators asking them to not support this piece of anti-Texas legislation.
During the Primary campaign, Holland was quick to point out that I moved to Texas from California and Texans didn't want to elect a former Californian as their state rep...
Yet I'm the one trying to protect Texas while he's the one actively working on turning our state into a copy of California.
Perhaps the above is the reason he opened an office in Colorado. Think about it. This is his 4th term which will fulfill his 8 years of legislative service thus making him eligible for the retirement package at age 55.
After he's done messing up Texas during this session, it would be an easy escape to another state to avoid the criticism he'll face when Texans learn about his deeds.
It would be a convenient excuse and an easy move to Colorado claiming he needs to be closer to his new remote business location. After all, he'll have set himself up to make a fortune here over the next few years through all the development deals he's probably working on.
Then when he hits that magical age of 55, he'll be able to draw a 6-figure pension from Texas for the rest of his life.
Anyways, I just thought sharing this with my fellow Texans was important.
I am running to replace Holland in the next primary election. If you'd like to sit down over a cup of coffee, lunch, or a glass of wine to discuss...just call.
It still boggles my mind how someone who is so proud of being a 6th generation Texan and all that his family did for the Rockwall area, could do this to his hometown and all of Texas.