AUSTIN – Rep. Wayne Smith (R-Baytown) and a bipartisan group of Texas House members today called for passage of House Bill 11, the Stronger Border, Safer Texas Act, because it will strengthen border security and help law enforcement stop border-related crime wherever it occurs across the state.
“Border security is a federal responsibility but Texas cannot afford to wait for Washington to act,” said Smith. “The Stronger Border, Safer Texas Act will permanently strengthen the presence of DPS Troopers on the border, curb the flow of the cartels’ supply lines and create a new team of investigators who will help police crack down on crime syndicates wherever they operate in Texas.”
Key provisions of House Bill 11, co-authored by Rep. Smith, include:
• Hiring of certified police officers at the DPS Trooper II level and authorizing 10 hour work days for DPS Troopers serving in the border region, ending the current practice of periodically shifting officers from other parts of the state.
• Creating a DPS Officer Reserve Corps of retired officers who will assist police statewide with background investigations, sex offender compliance checks and other duties.
• Imposing tougher penalties for smugglers, and classifying human smuggling as organized crime.
• Cutting the cartels’ supply lines with new southbound checkpoints within 250 yards of the border to curb the flow of stolen vehicles, guns and money from being smuggled into Mexico.
• Establishing a multiagency border crime information center in the Rio Grande Valley led by local law enforcement with assistance from DPS.
• Requiring law enforcement entities to adopt the National Incident Based Reporting System to ensure the transparency and uniformity of crime data throughout the state.
Representative Sylvester Turner, Representative Wayne Smith, and Representative Dan Huberty urge the Texas Legislature to Support Legislation Allowing for Electrocardiogram Screening for Student AthletesFebruary 11th, 2015
AUSTIN, TX ~ Today, State Representative Sylvester Turner (D-Houston), State Representative Wayne Smith (R-Baytown), State Representative Dan Huberty (R-Houston), and Scott Stephens, President of the Cody Stephens Go Big or Go Home Memorial Foundation, urged the Texas Legislature to support legislation that will allow for electrocardiogram screenings (ECGs) as part of the University Interscholastic League (UIL) pre-participation requirements for student athletes. The legislators have introduced HB 677, HB 767, and HB 779, respectively. Representatives of medical and educational entities joined today in support of the legislation, including Pat Shuff, CEO of Cypress ECG; Dr. Keith Moore, Superintendent of Crosby ISD; Holly Farmer and Pamela Velasco of August Heart, as well as numerous other medical professionals and supporters.
Sudden cardiac death is the leading cause of death among school-age athletes. Further, student athletes are 4.5 times more likely to die from sudden cardiac death than students not participating in competitive sports. Though student athletes in Texas are currently required to receive a physical in order to participate in UIL activities, the traditional physical does not sufficiently detect the underlying cardiac abnormalities that can lead to sudden cardiac death. An ECG provides for greater detection of cardiovascular diseases that predispose athletes to sudden cardiac death.
“This bill would save the lives of student athletes who are currently in danger of sudden cardiac death because they have an undiagnosed condition”, said Rep. Sylvester Turner. “These deaths are preventable and we have the resources to inform Texas parents if their child is at risk. The legislation does not require parents to take any medical action in response to an ECG. Regardless of the information the ECG provides, any medical decisions regarding the student athlete remain at the parent’s discretion.”
The legislation filed is an extension of the momentous efforts by Scott P. Stephens of the Cody Stephens Go Big or Go Home Memorial Foundation to screen all athletes in Texas schools. Three years ago, Stephens lost his son Cody to sudden cardiac death and believes that he would be alive today if he had received an ECG. Cody was only a few weeks away from graduating from Crosby High School and had received a football scholarship to Tarleton State University.
“After I lost my son Cody to sudden cardiac arrest in May of 2012, I discovered that the #1 killer of student athletes is sudden cardiac arrest. Texas has a great opportunity to lead the nation by being the first state to enhance the current pre-participation examination by including an ECG twice in a student athletes career. By including an ECG we can find many of these at risk athletes before their families have to endure an unimaginable yet preventable loss,” said Mr. Stephens.
Currently, student athletes are required to have physicals and parents are responsible for this cost. The cost of ECGs can range from $0-15 and many schools districts provide ECGs for free.
“It was an easy decision to author a bill that would require heart screenings for student athletes who already take physicals before they play. If we can save even one kid’s life, it will be worth it, ” said Rep. Wayne Smith.
The Cody Stephens Go Big or Go Home Memorial Foundation has been a part of screening over 30,000 student athletes in its 2 year history. Mr. Stephens is continuing to receive extensive support from legislators and various organizations who understand the value and critical need to ensure every student athlete receives an ECG.
“In an attempt to ensure the health and safety of our Texas students, I, and several other members, will be partnering with the Cody Stephens Foundation to monitor the heart health of UIL athletes – our children”, said Rep. Dan Huberty. “It is essential that we protect every student’s life to the best of our ability and the Cody Stephen’s bill will go a long way to ensure that we do just that.”
AUSTIN, TX – Committee assignments for the 84th Legislative Session were announced today and State Representative Wayne Smith (R-Baytown) will again serve as Chair of the House Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures and on the House Committee on Tourism, Culture and Recreation. Rep. Smith also served on these committees during the 83rd Legislative Session and Interim.
The House Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures has jurisdiction over matters pertaining to business, industry, trade, gaming, and the sale of alcoholic beverages. It also has oversight of several key commissions including Licensing and Regulation, the Texas Real Estate Commission, the Texas Board of Professional Engineers and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
The House Committee of Culture, Recreation and Tourism oversees the state’s parks, fish and wildlife, shrines, monuments and memorials. Included is the maintenance and oversight of the Battleship Texas and the San Jacinto Battleground. Rep. Smith passed legislation to ask voters to approve the bonds to dry berth the battleship in Harris County.
“I am honored to be chosen to continue to serve as Chair of an important committee that handles licensing and oversight for several industries important to our local and state economies including business and trade,” said Smith. “I am also proud to serve on the committee that will handle the welfare or our state’s parks and historical resources, including the Battleship Texas and the San Jacinto Battleground which are of great historical importance to the people of my community and our state.”
State Representative Wayne Smith (R-Baytown) respectfully urged Harris County officials to consider allocating funds resulting from the San Jacinto Superfund Site settlement toward local projects in Harris County.
The Highlands area and surrounding communities have been advocating to see funds resulting from the San Jacinto Waste Pits lawsuit return to the communities that were affected. Various infrastructure projects have been proposed by local citizens and organizations deeply involved in the issue. Representative Smith has been following the matter very closely and is, at this time, consulting with state agencies as to the state’s portion of the settlement funds.
“I will do everything in my power as an elected state official to coordinate with the state and Harris County to ensure the state’s portion of these funds are utilized in the best possible way for our local community,” Smith said. “I thank Harris County for their deep involvement in this matter and I look forward to our continued discussions and collaboration on behalf of the citizens of Harris County.”
AUSTIN – State Representative Wayne Smith (R-Baytown) honored Texas Heroes who served in Vietnam during groundbreaking ceremonies for the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument. On Sunday, Smith participated in the “Reading of the Names” ceremony at the LBJ Museum in Austin, honoring those Texans who died. On Monday, Smith spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony at the Texas Capitol. Rep. Smith and State Senator Chuy Hinojosa (D-Hidalgo), both Vietnam Veterans, co-authored legislation authorizing construction of the monument.
Several state officials and veterans spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony; with most noting that the recognition for our men and women who served in Vietnam was long overdue.
“Most of our men and women who fought in Vietnam never received a hero’s welcome or recognition for our service to our country and state,” Smith said. “With today’s groundbreaking, we can finally say welcome home, and thanks for your sacrifice.”
Construction of the monument is underway and is expected to be finished by February 2014. The monument is a joint project of the Texas Historical Commission and hundreds of individuals, corporations, foundations and veteran organizations.
“I was pleased to see Conrad Garcia, Jr. and other members of the Baytown VVA Chapter 922 attend the groundbreaking ceremony this morning and the reading of the names on Sunday,” said Smith. “This monument is a tribute to all Texas Vietnam Veterans, but it certainly means a great deal to me to see my fellow Veterans from back home up here supporting the monument.”
For more information on the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument, please visit www.buildthemonument.org.
[via the Pasadena Citizen]
AUSTIN, TX – State Rep. Wayne Smith (R-Baytown) has filed House Bill 1127 aimed at cracking down on undercover Game Rooms in Harris County that have become a breeding ground for illegal activity and crime.
Over the last 10 years, game rooms have proliferated across much of incorporated Harris County due to increasing regulations under ordinance by the city of Houston.
To fly under the radar, many of these game rooms have changed their business model where restricted access has now become the norm, where game rooms only allow “members” or “known referrals” access behind darkly tinted windows and locked doors. This restricted access greatly inhibits even undercover investigations.
“Undercover game rooms have become a breeding ground for illegal activity and crime,” said Representative Smith. “It’s time to shine a light on this shady practice by giving the state and law enforcement regulatory authority to crack down on bad operators.”
The cash-rich businesses have become an increasing target of criminal activity. Since 2007, Harris County has seen ninety instances where robberies or aggravated assaults took place in game rooms in unincorporated areas. In that same time span, five homicides have also been attributed to these locations, including a pregnant woman who was killed when a worker at a game room discharged a shotgun while trying to stop a robbery.
It is estimated that an additional 25 percent of the crimes go unreported or reported away from the game room due to the refusal of game room operators to allow patrons to call police at their location.
Several years ago a crackdown by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the Precinct 4 Constable on these locations resulted in large seizures of the coin-operated machines, often referred to as 8-liners, for failure to comply with tax laws.
Eighty-five search warrants have been executed in game room investigations in the last five years. The enforcement actions resulted in the arrests of business operators for “Promotion of Gambling” as well as issuance of citations for failing to have current tax permits. These businesses operate under the pretense of providing “entertainment only,” but clearly continue to provide an unsafe environment.
“I am proud to carry this bill on behalf of the families who have fallen victim to the illegal activity and crime, and the law enforcement agencies who need all the tools at their disposal to keep our citizens safe,” said Smith.
House Bill 1127 seeks regulatory authority over Game Rooms to ensure they provide an environment safe for patrons and workers and are open to inspection by law enforcement and proper administrative authority.
Representative Wayne Smith represents Texas House District 128, including Baytown, Deer Park, La Porte, Crosby, Highlands, Morgan’s Point and a portion of Pasadena.
[via Your Houston News]
The long effort to build a monument at the Texas Capitol honoring hundreds of thousands of Texans who served in the Vietnam War is finally on the way to reality…
To read the fill article from the Baytown Sun, click here.
Chevron Phillips Chemical hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for a new 1-hexene plant Wednesday morning at their Cedar Bayou Plant on Interstate 10 that was attended by various dignitaries. Shown doing the groundbreaking, from left, Dr. W.A. Brookshire, S&B Engineers and Constructors CEO; Jack Morman, Harris County Precinct 2 commissioner; Wayne Smith, state representative; Tommy Williams, state senator; Baytown Mayor Stephen DonCarlos; Van Long, Chevron Phillips Chemical’s Cedar Bayou plant manager; and Pete Cella, Chevron Phillips Chemical’s president and CEO.
The following interview with Texas Representative Wayne Smith is one of a series of interviews conducted by VOCES Action and TexasGOPVote with members of the Hispanic Republican Conference in the 82nd session of the Texas Legislature. Representative Smith represents House District 128, which includes Harris County.
Rep. Wayne Smith impressed me with his attitude of recognizing the ability of other state representatives. He expressed his participation with the Hispanic Republican Conference and explained how we can have a sensible conversation about protecting our natural resources and exploring and developing our vast resources without the environmentalists politicizing it.
This interview was done during a busy and long day in session, and so we did not have enough time to cover everything. I really desire to have more time with Rep. Smith and would like to have a follow up interview with him. Rep. Smith also served in the U.S. Army in the Republic of Vietnam, and I am very grateful for his service to our country.
I would like to talk more with him next time about the Second Amendment and about pro family values. I like the fact that he strongly supports Second Amendment rights, including the right-to-carry handgun law, and that he’s a strong social and fiscal conservative.
The Hispanic Republican Conference has been growing. Originally it was formed by the House’s five Hispanic Republicans but has since been joined by other State Representatives whose districts have at least 30% Hispanic constituents. The Hispanic Republican Conference will be addressing some issues that have been controversial in parts of the state with large Hispanic populations.
Hispanics make up 36% of the Texas population and this percentage is growing. Hispanics share Republican conservative values of fiscal responsibility, faith, hard work, family values, and are pro-life. VOCES Action has been educating and empowering Americans with Hispanic backgrounds, and who hold conservative values, to make more responsible and informed voting decisions.
AUSTIN, TX-Back in February, members of the Texas Republican Representatives Campaign Committee (TRRCC) joined Chairman Munisteri at RPT headquarters to present the party with a generous donation of $15,000 and a pledge to continue the momentum of our party’s success through additional fundraising.
Today, we are pleased to announce that TRRCC has generously followed through on that pledge and provided another $5,000 contribution to the RPT. We are very grateful for the support and wish to recognize all of the board members of TRRCC: Chairman Harvey Hilderbran, Myra Crownover, Lois Kolkhorst, Jim Keffer, Ken Paxton, Larry Taylor, Larry Phillips, Kelly Hancock and Wayne Smith.
As the organization approaches the anniversary of its second full year in existence, TRRCC continues to be a strong Republican presence in the State House. The committee has been modeled after the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and is geared towards a Texas culture of solid, conservative principles.
Said RPT Chairman Steve Munisteri, “The continued support of groups like TRRCC is vital to the ongoing success of our state party not only this year, but as we grow and move forward into 2012. I am grateful for this contribution to the RPT, and would like to recognize and thank Chairman Harvey Hilderbran for following through on his committment to support the state party with his time, talents and resources. All of the board members of TRRCC have taken an active role in strengthening the Republican Party of Texas and voiced their committment to continue their support in the critical election year approaching in 2012. I thank each of them for their leadership, and for the generosity of this new contribution.”