West Texas Lawmakers File New Bills on Guns and Sanctuary Cities

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West Texas lawmakers filed bills this week to be discussed in the upcoming Legislative Session. 

State Representative for District 83, Dustin Burrows, filed four bills. 

The first bill, HB 339 eliminates fees Texans pay when obtaining or renewing a handgun license. 

“The second amendment is a right of self protection,” Burrows said. “And I don’t think that we need to be charging people $140 for a license, to license back to them their rights.”

Burrows said HB 339 would keep in place all other requirements for purchasing a gun, like criminal background checks. 

When asked if the state budget would suffer without the fees, Burrows said he has done research and the money could be replaced with funds from the Texas Department of Public Safety. 

The second, HB 307 works to cut the cost of healthcare by making prices available to patients before treatment. The re-organization would allow patients the chance to shop around for the lowest cost of treatment. Burrows said while traveling his district this past year, many constituents expressed their struggles to pay healthcare premiums. 

The third, HB 308 has to do with Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR)  funding. He said many rural schools districts across the state depend on this funding to cover 1/3 of their budget. The bill will provide additional funding and tax reductions. The current ASATR funding expires in 2017, but his bill would extend funding for 10 additional years. 

The final bill, HB 338 is about acreage and bale contracts and providing protection for farmers from legal action. He said it protects farmers who produce under an acre contract, not a bale contract, and stops a merchant from coming back and suing them down the line for not producing what was estimated off an acre contract. 

Senator Charles Perry working to eliminate Sanctuary Cities in Texas by filing Senate Bill 4. 

“It’s important to me that we make sure and have a law and order society,” Perry said. “The irony, in this debate, is these individuals run from a country that has lost law and order. The first act is they break a law by entering, the second is they have another city that they enter that allows them to continue to be harbored, so they are breaking a law. If we continue to let this perpetuate they are going to have different laws that they pick and choose which ones they operate under and it creates a real problem.” 

The bill is an extension of SB 185 which he filed in 2015, but wasn’t able to get enough votes in the Senate. He said, this time, he has support from the Senate and House of Representatives. 

Perry said the Department of Justice is withholding federal grants to sanctuary cities. He identified those cities in Texas as Dallas, Houston and Austin. 

According to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s office, the higher the number a bill is given, the higher the priority. Governor Patrick released a statement in support of Perry’s bill.

“I applaud Sen. Perry for taking such quick action in filing legislation to prohibit sanctuary cities in Texas. This legislation is key to keeping our border secure. Cities that decide to act as safe havens for illegal immigrants are not only breaking federal immigration laws, they are also creating a magnet for illegal immigration. I am committed to ending sanctuary cities once and for all in Texas and passing SB 4 will be a top priority in the 2017 Legislative Session,” Patrick said.

The 85th Legislative Session begins January 10, 2017.

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