The News Gram Online

Evie Rodriguez

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Wednesday, 17 April 2013 20:04 Published in April 2013

Austin, TX

As the last day of session, also called 'Sine Die,' looms, the legislators are scrambling to get their bills passed out of committee and Representative Poncho Nevárez is no different. With his HB 1351, relating the authority of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) when it comes to eliminating low-producing certification or degree programs, becoming a hot topic this session, many legislators believe that this issue needs to be addressed. Last week, Senate Committee Chair on Higher Education Senator Kel Seliger used Representative Nevárez's HB 1351 language to amend SB 215 that relates to the functions of the THECB. The Senator used the HB 1351 language as an amendment on the floor of the Senate that removed the authority of the THECB to eliminate low-producing programs leaving that power to the institution's Board of Regents. It was passed unanimously. "I am honored to work with Chairman Seliger to make sure that this issue is fully addressed and I look forward to help pass this bill in the House," Nevárez states. Representative Nevárez has also joined forces with Representative Naomi Gonzalez from El Paso regarding bills they both have relating to residence homestead property taxes. Representative Gonzalez has filed HB 1597, relating to installment agreements for the payment of delinquent residence homestead taxes, which is germane to Nevárez's bill relating to fighting for veterans' rights to make installment payments on residence homestead taxes. As both Representatives have related bills, they have decided to collaborate and work together to ensure that both of these pieces of legislation move forward through the House. "I am working hard to make sure the constituents of District 74 are fully supported," Nevárez adds. "I am honored that my colleagues support my ideas because it helps not only my constituents, but theirs as well. However, there is always more work to be done."


Allows Permit Holders to Carry Concealed Weapons Across State Lines


U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced an amendment to S. 649 which would guarantee the rights of gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines and within other states that also have conceal-carry laws.   “Balancing two of this nation’s most fundamental rights, this measure ensures that law-abiding Americans are able to lawfully carry their weapons across state lines while respecting the rights of each individual state to pass laws that are right for them.”   The Constitutional Concealed Carry Act of 2013 would treat state-issued conceal-carry permits like drivers’ licenses, allowing law-abiding citizens with conceal-carry privileges to conceal-carry in any other states that also permits it by law. The amendment is supported by the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.


Texas AgFinance, a rural lending cooperative serving central and south Texas, has declared a record $9.5 million patronage to its customers. This amount was based on the co-op’s solid 2012 financial results and was approved by the Texas AgFinance Board of Directors.   Customers will receive a check for their portion of a $3.3 million cash distribution in late April, as well as a statement detailing their portion of a $6.2 million allocation that may be eligible for future cash distribution subject to board approval.   Because Texas AgFinance is a cooperative, its stockholders share in its ownership and its earnings. When the lender does well, a portion of its earnings is returned to borrowers in the form of patronage.   “Patronage is a cornerstone of the co-op business model, and payments like this one reduce our customers’ cost of borrowing from Texas AgFinance,” said Mark Miller, Texas AgFinance chief executive officer. “We are pleased to share our success with them, and it’s one way we can say thanks to our borrowers.”   A part of the nationwide Farm Credit System, Texas AgFinance has financed agricultural operations and rural America since 1933. The co-op is headquartered in Robstown and has offices in Bandera, Brenham, Hebbronville, Pleasanton, Raymondville, San Antonio, Uvalde and Weslaco.