Texas District 7 Representative and former Longview mayor Jay Dean spoke to Kilgore Lions Club this week with an important message: a report on what he and his colleagues in the legislature were able to accomplish.
Dean visited the Lions Thursday to talk about the 86th Texas Legislature, which wrapped up its session back in June.
Dean, a business owner and staunch conservative Republican, talked about the vast amounts of bills legislators had to comb through in order to pass laws.
This totaled over 7,000 bills.
Dean said one of the biggest accomplishments of the legislature was House Bill 3, which mandated historic statewide teacher and school faculty pay raises while also driving down property tax rates.
In addition to statewide changes, Dean and others focused on local East Texas laws.
“We had several local bills that we worked on. One of the things was that we had a problem in Upshur County with the gaming rooms,” Dean said.
East Texas law enforcement has been working for years to shut down these illegal operations, which often include electronic gambling devices and sometimes use loopholes in an attempt to skirt the law.
“This bill allowed Upshur County Commissioners Court to determine where these gaming rooms were located. We had them next to churches, next to daycare centers,” Dean said, citing problems these gambling dens cause with violence and shootings.
Dean said he and his colleagues on the Opioid Task Force introduced bills aimed at combating the problem of opioid abuse in the region.
The introduced bill mandates the inclusion of a website URL printed on prescription receipts. This website directs pill recipients to locations where they can safely dispose of the medication. Dean said many opioid users obtain their drugs by stealing them from medicine cabinets where they are stored after the original recipient stops taking them.
Bills introduced also allow doctors to “e-prescribe” medications, rather than writing a physical prescription on paper.
Dean said such prescription pads can fetch up to $20,000 on the street and the “e-prescription” method would help void that market.
Bills also addressed a major concern for the nation and for Texas – school safety.
“We put in place more funding for the security of the schools. One of the big bills was to deal with each school district having a committee as a resource to take information. You know, a teacher sees something going on in that class with a student that’s not doing well and making some tough comments and drawings…to have some place to bring it to a committee for some oversight. Little Johnny may need some help or they’re overreacting, but at least they’d have some type of way to report this to administration.”
Following his discussion, Dean fielded questions from the audience, saying he was pleased with the amount of work accomplished in the 86th session.
“I think we had a good session. It was a different business, the way we went about things,” he said, describing the session as “very businesslike” which avoided personality conflicts which arose in the past. He added approximately 1,200 bills were passed.
To learn more about Rep. Dean, visit JayDeanForTexas.com.