This week saw the passage of my very first bill as a Representative in the Texas House. House Bill 1521 was crafted to deal with a very specific health safety issue. Oftentimes, livestock and fowl, both domestic and exotic, will contract diseases that must be dealt with by depopulating the infected herds and flocks. This depopulation is done responsibly and solely for the purpose of keeping the infection from spreading to other animals and even, in some cases, human beings. House Bill 1521 ensures that the spread of bird-borne diseases like avian flu is abated, so that we can continue to safely export our fowl through both domestic and international markets and with a just method of compensation for the loss through depopulation. I'm proud that this bill can be another good contribution to Texas' record of sound economic and health safety policies.
Additionally, I presented House Bill 3662 before the House Committee of Economic and Small Business Development. This bill establishes the Texas Workforce Innovation Needs (or WIN) Program, which allows our public schools and colleges to collaborate and create pilots around workforce-focused innovations, starting with career and technical education pathways. These pathways will provide students all across the state with more opportunities to achieve dual credit for their college degrees and even give them the option to earn work certifications for skill sets that are in great demand in Texas. According to current trends, by 2018 there will be roughly 1.4 million jobs specifically for people with work certificates specializing in various skill areas. By 2020, 59 percent of all jobs in Texas will require postsecondary training or education, including these types of certifications. The Texas WIN Program will allow our public schools and colleges to meet these future workforce needs. I'm very pleased to have Chairman Branch join me as an author on this bill. I know that his support in this great endeavor will go a long way in turning this idea into a reality.
Finally, I wanted to mention a few of the bills that have been floating around the House regarding the Second Amendment. I want to assure you that I am continuing to fight the good fight for our constitutional rights. I will always be a staunch defender of the Second Amendment and to that great end I have co-authored House Bill 1304, House Bill 1009, and House Bill 1531. House Bill 1304 softens the current law on displaying a gun in public. House Bill 1009 creates a new category of law enforcement officers, called school marshals, so that our school districts and charter schools can protect our precious children, and finally, House Bill 1531 ensures that our firefighters and EMTs have the right to carry weapons as they respond to emergency situations.
Visit my official member page at: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=11 to view all the legislation we're working on and please reach out to my Capitol or District office to share your thoughts on the issues.