The 84th Legislative Session was a huge success for Cameron County.
This session, Rep. Lucio advocated the need for budget increases in the education, health care, transportation, and civil services realms, particularly in higher education, public education, and health care services. Texas currently ranks 38th in education funding per pupil, an increase over the last four years. Rep. Lucio believes an increase in education funding will lead to Texas students improving their standardized test scores. Rep. Lucio has also continued to champion the need for increasing health care expenditures for the state of Texas.
Environment and Natural Resources
Rep. Lucio has garnered a true appreciation and respect for all issues pertaining to the environment and natural and renewable resources. His legislative record on the environment includes the passage of HB 51 (Energy Efficient State Buildings), HB 432 (Energy Efficient State Vehicles) and HB 451 (Don’t Mess With Texas Water Program) in past legislative sessions.
This session Rep. Lucio has continued his success by securing the passage of key pieces of legislation:
HB 949 – Relating to the obligation of certain retail public utilities to mitigate their system water loss.
HB 1221 – Relating to seller’s disclosures in connection with residential real property subject to groundwater regulation.
HB 1224 – Relating to the purposes for which the assets of certain revolving funds administered by the TWDB may be used.
HB 1232 – Relating to a study by the TWDB of the hydrology and geology of the confined and unconfined aquifers in this state.
HB 2031 – Relating to the diversion, treatment, and use of marine seawater and the discharge of treated marine seawater and waste resulting from the desalination of marine seawater; adding provisions subject to a criminal penalty.
HB 2179 – Relating to hearings that concern the issuance of permits by a groundwater conservation district.
SB 903 (HB 2104) – Relating to procedures for the management, sale, or lease of certain state-owned real property and the management or collection of related funds, including disputed oil and gas royalties owed to the state.
SB 1301 (HB 1223) – Relating to the governance and administration of the Texas Water Resources Finance Authority.
SB 854 (HB 1248)- Relating to the renewal or amendment of certain permits issued by groundwater conservation districts.
The Rio Grande Valley (RGV) is the only major metropolitan area of the state that does not have access to a major interstate to connect our region with the highway network.
Rep. Lucio remains firmly dedicated to improving the overall transportation network throughout South Texas in an effort to bring further growth in international trade, economic development and advancements in emergency preparedness.
Over the years Rep. Lucio has attained passage of a range of pieces of legislation aimed at upgrading our current transportation infrastructure and establishing an interstate highway.
Rep. Lucio has also passed legislation concerning driver safety, such as HB 64, which prohibits drivers within the state of Texas to use a portable communication device to read, write, or send text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle.
This session, Rep. Lucio passed an important transportation bill for Cameron County:
HB 1741 – Relating to route designation for the issuance of a permit for the movement of oversize and overweight vehicles in certain counties.
Expanding access and availability of healthcare to all Texans has long been a goal of Rep. Lucio. Major legislation that he has worked to pass includes: the Medicaid Buy-In Program for Children with Specials Needs (HB 67/SB187), expanding insurance coverage for children with autism until their 10th birthday (HB 451), requiring insurance companies to provide coverage for prosthetics (HB 806)
HB 67/SB187 (Medicaid Buy-In Program for Children with Special Needs) addresses the problem that many special needs children’s families are faced with when they are not eligible for services through Medicaid. Often times, this forces families to take drastic measures such as lowering their income by taking lower paying jobs, turning down promotions and other extreme actions such as divorce in order to stay eligible for services. Families with income up to 3 times the federal poverty level are eligible to participate in this program. Participating families are required to pay a monthly premium that is determined by a sliding scale based on their income. This program assists families who are part of the hard working middle class and who struggle with providing adequate health care to their children.
In particular, this session Rep Lucio passed:
SB 2034 (HB 4182)- Relating to the creation of the Cameron County Healthcare District; granting the authority to impose a tax and issue bonds; granting the power of eminent domain.
Our veterans deserve the care and respect due to them for their courageous service, which is why they remain one of Rep. Lucio’s top priorities. This session, Rep. Lucio filed HB 727, which will exempt honorably discharged veterans from the armed services from property taxes on their homes. He also shares and understands the concerns regarding the status of veteran healthcare services in the Rio Grande Valley.
Establishing a VA hospital or the coordination of medical services for veterans requires federal action from the VA or Rep. Lucio’s federal colleagues in Congress. Rep. Lucio has worked with the Congressional delegation and has always supported the efforts to bring a VA hospital to the Valley. As a result, the recent VA contracts with our local hospitals have eliminated nearly 98 percent of the trips our veterans were required to take.
Rep. Lucio’s legislative record includes legislation that; exempts disabled veterans from property taxes (HB 742), awards up to a full semester’s worth of college credit for military service (HB 269), created the Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program (HB 3452), created new funding for the Texas Fund for Veterans’ Assistance (HB 1299), and officially called upon Congress to establish a VA hospital in South Texas (HCR 86).
Rep. Lucio has also joint authored legislation seeking to increase the ways in which our state can participate in making the dream of a VA hospital a reality for our veterans. Rep. Lucio has maintained that he will not rest until we see our veterans walk through the doors of a VA hospital in the Valley.
This session, Rep. Lucio passed:
SB 1463 – Relating to improving the delivery health care services to veterans in this state.
Rep. Lucio sincerely believes that improving the quality of education and expanding access to educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley is vitally essential to the success of our youth. Rep. Lucio is proud to have authored legislation that establishes a medical school and law school in the Rio Grande Valley. While the law school legislation did not pass, Rep. Lucio remains committed to continuing the work towards expanding access to higher education in the Rio Grande Valley.
In an effort to keep education in the RGV as strong as possible, Rep. Lucio passed these bills in the 84th session:
HB 731- Relating to a pilot program under the foundation school program for funding prekindergarten programs provided by certain school districts with early high school graduation programs.
Rep. Lucio has long been a supporter of our law enforcement and first responders. During his time in the legislature he has always worked hard for legislation, programs and initiatives that aim towards curbing crime and keeping us safe. Rep. Lucio was honored by the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas’ “Best of the House” award.
HB 1721 (Stalking Protective Order), authored by Rep. Lucio, creates a protective order for victims of stalking to receive the same protections afforded to victims of family violence. Previously, state law only provided protective orders for victims of physical family violence and sexual assault. Victims of stalking experience similar fear and isolation and are now able to be protected by this court order. HB 1721 relates to protective orders for certain victims of stalking or sexual assault in Texas. Additionally, HB 1721 now allows statements made by children under 14 years old to be admissible as evidence in court.
Student Athlete Safety
As a former collegiate athlete, Rep. Lucio is concerned with the safety and well being of our student athletes across the state. During the 82nd legislative session, Rep. Lucio was able to successfully pass legislation that establishes football helmet inspection standards and worked on legislation that implements protocols for the response to concussions.
HB 675 (Student Helmet Standards) requires schools to recondition helmets that are 10-years old or older every two years; as well as keep records of the helmets’ age and reconditioning and to provide the information to parents of student-athletes. This bill also requires that football helmets be taken off the field after 16-years of use.
The first line of defense in protecting football players from possibly debilitating effects is the player’s helmet. While much of the attention regarding football related head injuries focuses on the after effects and severity of concussions, we must not overlook the importance of measures that may help prevent such tragedies from happening in the first place.
As one of the top 15 largest counties in the state, Cameron County serves as a hub for cultural and economic expansion for Texas. Rep. Lucio believes local government is one of the most important tools that citizens can rely on. For this reason, Rep. Lucio remains committed to ensuring Cameron County remains strong.
This session, Rep. Lucio passed numerous pieces of legislation that will help citizens of Cameron County:
HB 1062- Relating to authorizing a fee for county records technology and infrastructure costs in certain counties.
HB 1774- Relating to the jurisdiction and powers of and the referral of certain proceedings to a criminal law hearing officer in Cameron County.
As a family man, Rep. Lucio recognizes that family issues are extremely important.
This session, Rep. Lucio passed bills that deal with family issues:
SB 814 (HB 1826)- Relating to waivers of citation in certain family law suits.
SB 812 (HB 2411)- Relating to the appointment of an association judge in a family law proceeding involving a name change.
SB 813 (HB 1827)- Relating to the use of digitized signatures in certain family law proceedings.
SB 821 (HB 1825)- Relating to references to school in the Family Code.
SB 822 (HB 1824)- Relating to the applicability of certain definitions and certain laws governing attorneys ad litem, guardians ad litem, and amicus attorneys in family law proceedings.
HB 1579- Relating to the sale and purchase of shark fins or products derived from shark fins; creating a criminal offense.
HB 2358- Relating to the exemption from certain registration and licensing requirements and taxes for certain businesses and employees who enter this state in response to a disaster or emergency.
SB 1593 (HB 2529)- Relating to the regulation of the sale of fireworks by certain municipalities.
HB 3357- Relating to permitted methods for certain political subdivisions to post notice of a meeting.
HCR 132- Designating Brownsville as the official Bicycling Capital of the RGV for a 10-year period beginning in 2015.
SB 1389 (HB 3378)- Relating to the border commerce coordinator.
For a complete list of bills that Rep. Lucio filed and authored, please click here.