Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

May 6, 2013

Senator Nichols: My five cents

AUSTIN — The saying goes that Ap-ril showers bring May flowers, but at the Capitol April bills bring May thrills. In the last month of session, the Legislature works early in the morning and late at night to pass legislation. With major issues like approving a state budget and addressing water and transportation funding still ahead of us, May promises to be busy and exciting.

Five things that happened this week at your Texas Capitol are:

Curbing mail vote fraud

The House recently passed a bill which will soon be heard in Senate State Affairs, a committee on which I am proud to serve. HB 148 by Representative Cindy Burkett cracks down on mail-in ballot fraud by capping at 10 the number of ballots an individual can mail for others in an election cycle.

Currently, an individual or group can collect an unlimited number of ballots, a practice known as "ballot harvesting," and there are concerns that ballots may be mailed or not mailed depending on which way an individual is voting. I look forward to casting a vote for this bill to help solidify the integrity of our democratic pro-cess.  

Water plans have not run dry

I have let you know in previous 'Five cents' articles about an important water bill this session, HB 11. It was a surprise to many people this week when that bill died in the House because of a procedural technicality. However, all is not lost. The state's leadership have since reaffirmed their commitment to long-term water funding.

HB 11 would have spent $2 billion from the state's rainy day fund on water projects, but is not the only water bill filed this session. There are many others, including one which would create a constitutional amendment for you to vote on in November. Which-ever bill is ultimately successful, one thing remains sure: Texas must address the need for long-term water planning and projects. As increasing numbers of people move to our great state, there is a growing gap between the projected demand for water, and the amount of the resource available.

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