The 83rd legislative session in Austin is quickly coming to a close. A flurry of bills will be passed in the next few days, but many more are sitting on the Governor's desk and some of them will continue to sit without his all-important signature.
It was the second session for District 83 Representative Charles Perry. He admits there have been some ups and downs, but he feels every decision he made was in the best interest of the state and his constituents.
"Personally we did well and as a state we did well," Perry said. "We got a good budget, we started the water funding - which is something we campaigned on for four years. It's something that hadn't been done since 1999 when they put the original water plan in place."
"I touched all areas of the state, I think. A victims' rights bill that's sitting on [Governor Perry's] desk that I hope to get signed, the veterans' bill, I did some Medicaid reforms and then I did one on gun control. I was glad to get those initiatives through," Perry said.
Perry says the veterans' bill would offer tax relief to wounded warriors who are given homes, like the local veterans who've received homes from the West Texas Home Builders.
Perry says veterans are often stuck with high taxes after a couple years of owning the home and are forced to sell. This would help lighten that burden. The gun control bill would allow law enforcement agencies to sell any confiscated firearms to a certified gun dealer and keep the profits. DPS alone estimates it would have given them an additional $500,000 if it had been in place.
The biggest disappointment of the 2013 legislative session for Perry was the failure to pass a bill that he was very passionate about - a bill that was particularly relevant to Lubbock.
"That was the synthetic drug bill," he said. "It actually got out of committee very supported but died in the house and just ran out of time."
"The bill I had proposed was done by a chemist and came out of Ohio and a couple of other states and was kind of mirrored after some of their success. It was one that would change as those compounds change, so it would've kept us from having to come back and deal with it year after year."
Representative Perry was also part of several committees this term. He says these assignments will help him grow in the future. They included appropriations - the state budget writers, government reforms and efficiencies and one that he said was very necessary - the transparency committee.
"It's efforts to make sure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely, to make sure everyone's getting a fair deal and the same shake, that it's not a good ol' boy network," he said.
Looking back on the session as a whole he says it was a very successful year for Texas.
"The water, the education, the budget put money back into places where every community in this state has been touched. I think it reflected catching up. It wasn't like we expanded a lot, but we caught up."
When asked about the local issue of tornado sirens, Perry said, "I would like to see that test pilot in certain areas of town. Some of the newer homes with some of the airtight insulation, I don't know if you would hear the sirens if you're in a home locked up."
On Thursday, KCBD launched its "Support Our Sirens" campaign, aimed at sending a petition in support of sirens to City Hall. The petition is available here: http://bit.ly/10EFaaS.
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