ETCOG will honor regional citizens who exemplify excellence in performance, innovation, and contributions to the community at its 98th Semi-Annual Board of Director's Meeting on Thursday, March 21st, at Ben E. Keith in Palestine, TX, from 11:45 am to 2:00 pm. Award criteria and recipient information is as follows:
REGIONAL FIRST RESPONDER - KATLYN LOURY, GUN BARREL CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT DISPATCHER
Recognizes first responders who have rendered extraordinary service, putting their lives on the line for our safety, while performing their duties as peace officers, firemen, EMS and dispatchers as well as DPS officers and troopers. Katllyn Loury, in her position as a Gun Barrel City Police Department Dispatcher, answered a 9-1-1 call on Thanksgiving Day in regard to a capsized boat on Cedar Creek Lake which had three individuals without life jackets or the ability to swim in need of emergency assistance. Katlyn was able to maintain communication with he boaters while dispatching multiple agencies. Her diligence and abilities as a dispatcher are credited as saving the life of all three stranded boaters.
REGIONAL CITIZEN OF THE YEAR - KEVIN SCULLY, TYLER, TEXAS
This award is designed to honor a citizen of East Texas who has contributed to the well-being of the East Texas Region. Kevin Scully is a retired Air Force Colonel and practicing Physician's Assistant. He has a passion for serving first responder's medical needs on a volunteer basis through numerous regional agencies and currently serves as the Tyler Police Department's SWAT Team Medical Officer.
REGIONAL CORPORATE CITIZEN OF THE YEAR - EAST TEXAS CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT LIVING
The Regional Corporate Citizen of the Year award honors a corporate partner in East Texas that has contributed to the well-being of the East Texas Region. The East Texas Center for Independent Living is a non-profit organization providing services to East Texans who have a disability. It serves as an education provider on disability related topics and its Tyler office is one of over 400 centers in the United States.
REGIONAL COMMITTEE SERVICE AWARD - CHRISTINA ANDERSON, EASTEXCONNECTS
The Regional Committee Service Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated a sustained, dedicated commitment to ETCOG efforts and activities. Christina Anderson is from Marshall, Texas, and serves as the current chair of the ETCOG EasTexConnects transportation steering committee. The committee purpose is to improve the quality of life in East Texas through transportation choices. Its mission is to create and connect a comprehensive, flexible, and sustainable public transportation system throughout and beyond the 14 counties of State Planning Region 6.
EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR - BEVERLY BROWN, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF AGING PROGRAMS
The ETCOG Employee of the Year is nominated and voted on by ETCOG Staff and the top three candidates are presented to the ETCOG Selection Committee for consideration. Beverly Brown serves as ETCOG's Associate Director of Aging where she has been employed since February 1, 2004. Beverly is a two-time recipient of the Employee of the Year award, having also won in 2010.
Three Longview companies are utilizing Texas State Technical College for training employees in new technical skills.
Komatsu Mining Corp., Stemco and Westlake Chemical Corp. have scheduled training on-site and at TSTC's Marshall campus in recent weeks.
"We are now approaching businesses to assist them in identifying training gaps and coming up with recommendations to close such gaps," said Dirk D. Hughes, executive director of TSTC Workforce Training. "Then, and only then, will we talk to the company about how to fund the training through grants and/or cash."
Thirteen employees at Stemco, which produces bearings, hubcaps, seals and other products for the heavy- and medium-duty trailer and truck industry, will take computer software classes at the end of March and a class in measurements and tools in April. The classes are conducted through a Texas Workforce Development grant.
"We looked at the company needs and worked with TSTC to see what courses they had available and would work best with our colleagues," said Amanda Tarbet, a human resources business partner at Stemco.
About 140 Stemco employees have already completed five courses in leadership, manufacturing and other topics through TSTC in 2018 and 2019, Tarbet said. Tarbet credited Stemco's plant manager William Leadaman as being instrumental in getting
Employees of Westlake Chemical Corp. recently attended a workforce training session led by TSTC in Marshall.
the training for employees.
"I think it is helping our colleagues to open their eyes on furthering their education as well," Tarbet said. "We have a few colleagues that are actually registered with TSTC. We have a tuition reimbursement program."
Four employees at Westlake Chemical recently took a three-day course in motor controls.
Eight Komatsu employees are taking two inventory management classes this month at the company.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.
This week was another busy week at the Capitol. We laid out House Bills 685 and 686 in the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence. HB 685 provides protection for our county and district clerks from liability for public documents stored by third party entities. HB 686 preserves a permanent record management fee, which helps county and district clerks protect, maintain, and digitize our historic documents.
House Bill 695 was heard by the House Committee on Transportation and would allow police officers in Jacksonville to receive training from the Department of Public Safety to conduct commercial vehicle weight inspections. Jacksonville Chief of Police Andrew Hawkes traveled to Austin to testify in support of the bill.
The Homeland Security Committee heard House Bill 971 which would allow our veterans to receive credit toward their Intermediate, Advanced, and Master Peace Officer Certifications. Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges testified in conjunction with this bill, attesting to the benefits of giving veterans credit toward the certifications.
Most House committees adhere to the practice of reviewing and taking testimony on bills in one hearing, and reserving committee votes on the bills in a later hearing. This allows more time for public input and for consideration of testimony before votes are cast. Keeping with this tradition, I anticipate votes on HBs 685, 686, 695, and 971 in the near future, and we will keep you apprised of the bills’ progress through the legislative process.
In statewide news, the Texas House made headlines by filing House Bill 3, which is an omnibus bill that addresses public school administration and public school finance reform. I am proud to be a co-author of the bill and will provide updates on the bill’s status as the session progresses.
The 86th Texas Legislative Session is nearly halfway done, and Friday, March 8, is the filing deadline for all bills that will have state-wide implications. Please remember, we want to hear from you about your positions on bills before committees and the Legislature. Use the resources outlined in the newsletter below to stay up-to-date with legislation and to contact our district and capitol staff.
God bless Texas,
State Representative, House District 11
I was honored to be recognized as the Legislator of the Year by the East Texas Council of Governments. Judge Chris Davis of Cherokee County presented this award to me, and I am grateful for both his friendship and strong support of rural Texas. The Honorable Judge Bill Stoudt of Gregg County received the Government Official of the Year Award.
We were visited by the Deep East Texas Council of Government to discuss the future of 911 in rural Texas.
This week we filed four pieces of legislation:
· HB 2963 - Relating to the conveyance of certain state forest land in Cherokee County under the control of the board of regents of The Texas A&M University System;
· HB 3164 - Relating to certain images captured by an unmanned aircraft;
· HB 3231 - Relating to the regulation of firearms, air guns, knives, ammunition, or firearm or air gun supplies or accessories by a county or municipality;
· HB 3453 - Relating to subpoenas, orders, and warrants for the disclosure of location information, electronic customer communications records, and electronic customer data, and for the use of pen registers, ESN readers, cell site simulators, and mobile tracking devices; creating a criminal offense.
Mark your calendar for important upcoming dates:
March 12: Human Services Committee Hearing
March 13: Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee Hearing
March 19: Recognizing the legacy and memory of former Stephen F. Austin State University President Baker Patillo on the House Floor
March 20-21: Rusk County Days at the Capitol
Please contact our capitol or district staff for more information on these events and please let us know if you plan to visit Austin this session. We would love to meet you and share the Texas Capitol with you!
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar today said state sales tax revenue totaled $2.796 billion in February, 7 percent more than in February 2018.
“Growth in sales tax revenue was led by remittances from the construction, manufacturing and services sectors,” Hegar said. “Receipts from information services and restaurants also grew significantly. Receipts from oil- and gas-mining firms remained about the same as a year ago.”
Total sales tax revenue for the three months ending in February 2019 was up 5.9 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Sales tax is the largest source of state funding for the state budget, accounting for 57 percent of all tax collections.
In February 2019, Texas collected the following revenue from other major taxes:
motor vehicle sales and rental taxes — $420.3 million, down 0.4 percent from February 2018;
motor fuel taxes — $299.3 million, up 0.9 percent from February 2018;
natural gas production taxes — $163.8 million, up 22.2 percent from February 2018; and
oil production taxes — $268.5 million, down 12.6 percent from February 2018. After 24 consecutive months of year-over-year increases, this is the second straight month of year-over-year declining oil production tax revenue.