State Representative Eddie Rodriguez filed the first 10 bills of his legislative agenda this week focused on affordable housing, animal welfare, school breakfasts, highway safety, worker wage retaliation protection and renewable energy. Representative Rodriguez will begin his sixth term in office serving House District 51 – East and Southeast Travis County in January.
“These bills help address a number of challenges we are facing from affordable housing to energy and public safety, said Representative Eddie Rodriguez. “We need to put politics aside after the elections and focus on getting things done for the citizens of Texas.”
H.B. 302 will ensure that homeowners obtain information about their home at least once a year, including the amount paid, amount still owed, and amount paid toward interest and principle. In other housing-related legislation, H.B. 294 will exempt the ad valorem taxation of property owned by community housing development organizations to provide affordable housing for homeless individuals in Travis County.
“Providing affordable housing in our communities has always been one of my top priorities,” said Representative Rodriguez. “For years I have fought to ensure that the individuals and families in my district will be able to remain in their homes despite the increasing housing costs and property taxes they face. I will continue to work with my fellow legislators this session to help communities create and maintain affordable housing options.”
H.B. 296 will require school districts that already participate in the national school breakfast program, and where 80% of the students qualify for free or reduced breakfast, to offer free breakfast to the all remaining students regardless of eligibility.
“Highway safety across the state of Texas must be improved to protect our loved ones,” said Rep. Rodriguez. “Drowsy driving should be a concern for everyone. We cannot wait until another life is lost in an accident involving drowsy driving that could have been prevented. A commission is needed to study how to better prevent drowsy driving to improve highway safety for Texans.”
Rep. Rodriguez has filed legislation to allow county courts to hear dangerous dog appeals. The current state law allows an owner of a dog that has been determined to be dangerous to appeal that determination. However, a court of appeals held that in some counties there is no court with jurisdiction to hear those appeals. H.B. 297 fixes that problem by vesting the county courts at law with jurisdiction.
Rep. Rodriguez re-filed the “Bittering Agent Bill” which would require manufacturers of antifreeze and engine coolant to include denatonium benzoate, a bitter flavoring agent in their products, to prevent poisoning. H.B. 301 would require this bittering agent to help prevent accidental poisoning from antifreeze and coolant products, in children and animals.
An extension of last sessions’ Wage Theft bill that protects workers when their employers refuse their wages, H.B. 298 prohibits employers from discriminating against or terminating an employee who utilizes the wage recovery resources implemented last session.
Rep. Rodriguez re-filed legislation from last session to ensure that Texas is the national leader in goals for renewable energy by setting our state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard at 35% generating capacity by the year 2020. H.B. 303 also sets a minimum requirement of 2% for solar energy.