We are in the final month of the 87th Texas Legislative Session, the home stretch, and things are moving fast in Austin.

Last week, the House debated and passed HB 570, the Rural Jobs Act, which I am proud to author. This bill creates an incentive for investment funds to invest in companies in rural Texas. There are several programs that attract businesses to Texas and encourage expansion, but the vast majority of those dollars go to investments in urban areas. HB 570 would provide badly needed capital for rural businesses and provide opportunities for growth which are currently not readily available in rural communities.

The House also passed two Sunset bills, the most significant being for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). TDLR licenses a broad range of Texas professionals, and does so in a very efficient manner, consistently reducing costs for licensees and making sure customer service is top notch. In the Sunset review of TDLR, we discovered that there were several licenses created by previous legislatures that had outlived their usefulness. In response to these findings, the legislature eliminated over a dozen licenses. These are the kind of results that the Sunset review process is set up to achieve.

We also passed HB 2622, which would prevent Texas law enforcement from enforcing federal gun laws which violate the 2nd Amendment. This will protect law abiding Texas gun owners from an increasing federal overreach.

The State Affairs Committee continued hearings this week, hearing bills relating to reforming lobbying in Texas to ownership structure of companies that grant their employees ownership in the company. We also heard legislation to help the legislature make the most of each 140 day session and to make changes to healthcare law more transparent to legislators as we consider these oftentimes complex bills.

It is great to hear from so many of you, letting me know what is important to you. I want to encourage you to reach out to me about issues that concern you or legislation that you would like to see advanced. I can be reached at 512-463-0556 or district9.paddie@house.texas.gov.

In addition, my district director, Joe Buck Crisp, will be spending time each month in every county to meet with you about legislative concerns and to help with issues you may be having with the state government. Please contact our Marshall office at 903-935-1141 if you would like to meet with Joe when he is in your town.

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Rep. Chris Paddie represents Cass, Harrison, Marion, Panola, Sabine and Shelby Counties in the Texas House of Representatives. His weekly Capitol Update column will run during the current Texas Legislature session.