Among the state legislators that serve portions of the Bellaire, Meyerland and West University areas, more than 50 bills have been prefiled ahead of the 88th legislative session, including items centered around the electric grid, emissions, women’s health and the opioid crisis.
Below are a few issues that will be taken up by local lawmakers when the session begins Jan. 10. This list does not encompass all bills filed by these legislators.
Sen. Borris Miles, District 13
Miles serves District 13, which covers parts of Fort Bend and Harris counties. I had prefiled a total of 21 bills as of Jan. 3.
- Senate Bill 179: This bill applies to facilities that apply for permits with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The approval process by the Texas commission would include the effects on public health when it comes to air pollutant emissions from the facility and other facilities within a 3-mile radius.
- SB 194: This bill would create the Texas African American Heritage Commission for the purpose of identifying, preserving and promoting sites reflecting Texas’ African American heritage.
Sen. John Whitmire, District 15
Whitmire serves District 15, which includes North Houston and parts of Harris County. I prefiled six bills.
- SB 224: This bill would prosecute all those involved in the theft, buying and selling of a stolen catalytic converter in motor vehicles, and it would increase the penalties if a firearm was involved.
- SB 330: This bill would authorize administrative penalties to certain municipalities if they do not meet what it calls “grid resilience.” The electric grid must be capable of preventing blackouts that include cyberattacks that will not put vulnerable communities in harm’s way. The bill also calls for transparency between state energy officials and the general public.
- SB 124: Both Miles and Whitmire were listed as authors of SB 124, which would provide medical assistance for pregnant women, regardless of immigration status, for at least one year.
Rep. Ann Johnson, District 134
Johnson serves District 134, which covers western parts of Houston’s Inner Loop and southwest Houston, including West University Place, parts of Bellaire and Meyerland. She preferred seven bills.
- House Bill 165: This bill would increase criminal penalties to those found guilty of committing a mass shooting.
- HB 130: This bill would create five more judicial criminal courts in Harris County that, once created, would work with existing courts to alleviate the backlog of pending criminal cases.
Rep. Shawn Thierry, District 146
Theirry serves District 146, which covers parts of southwest Houston, including parts of the Texas Medical Center and Willow Bend area. She preferred 22 bills.
- HB 814: This bill is one of three bills related to opioid prescriptions being proposed by Thierry. This particular bill would further regulate and add restrictions to what medical personnel can do when it comes to dispensing controlled substances, such as opioids.
- HB 1162: This bill relates to physicians who are renewing their licenses to practice medicine. It states medical professions must include education in cultural competence and bias to effectively address the health issues from patients of diverse backgrounds.