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Evie Rodriguez

Evie Rodriguez

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Senate Passes Uresti's County Roads Bill

Friday, 26 April 2013 16:31 Published in April 2013

AUSTIN

 

The Texas Senate on passed a bill by Sen. Carlos Uresti that would provide some much-needed help for county roads that are being severely damaged by oil and gas production activity.   SB 1747, sent to the House on a vote of 30-1, would create County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zones and establish criteria for counties to access funds for road maintenance and repair.   "Advancements in drilling technology have generated an unprecedented resurgence in oil and gas production, but it has come with a price," Uresti said. "Simply put, county roads weren't designed to handle the oil boom that Texas is enjoying."   The Texas Department of Transportation estimates that a county road used for drilling just one oil and gas well will endure the equivalent of 8 million passenger vehicles. In the Eagle Ford Shale region alone, 5,400 wells have been permitted by the Texas Railroad Commission. And according to a recent study by the University of Texas at San Antonio, a total of 24,000 wells can be expected in the region by 2022.   "It is clear that both short-term and long-term solutions are needed for this problem," Uresti said. "If we allow these roads to continue to deteriorate, we could kill the goose that lays the golden egg. The oil boom cannot be sustained if we don't give counties a way to maintain these roads."   Under current law, counties are primarily responsible for the repair and maintenance of county roads. Uresti said energy-producing counties deserve financial help for their roads because the entire state is benefiting from the upsurge in oil and gas production in the Eagle Ford Shale region and the Permian Basin.   SB 1747 would allow counties to create County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zones — designated areas where county roads have been damaged by oil and gas production activity. A county could apply for road repair funds based on its number of well completions, the number of weight tolerance permits, and the amount of severance taxes collected. A county would also have to provide its county roads report for the past two years and contribute a match of up to 10 percent for each repair or maintenance project.   The bill was the result of numerous meetings with county officials, the oil and gas industry, state transportation officials, and other stakeholders.

 

Sen. Uresti represents Senate District 19, which covers more than 35,000 square miles and contains all or part of 17 counties, two international ports of entry, ten state parks, 51 school districts, almost 9,000 miles of highways and county roads, and more than 29,000 producing oil and gas wells. The district is larger than 11 states and 124 Nations, and contains almost 400 miles of the Texas-Mexico border.

AUSTIN

The state Senate passed a bill by Sen. Carlos Uresti that would allow online voter registration in Texas.   Senate Bill 315, sent to the House on a bipartisan vote of 22-9, would add voter registration to the increasing number of government services and functions available online, making it easier for Texans to participate in the political process.  "Voting is a fundamental right and a public duty in our democracy, yet many Texans don't participate in the electoral process," Uresti said. "Online voter registration will encourage more people to participate by making the registration process easier and more convenient."   Under the bill, eligible voters could register online if they possess a valid driver's license or identification card issued by the Department of Public Safety. For those who do not have such documents, a website would provide a convenient way to register that minimizes typographical and transcription errors by submitting the voter's information on a mail-in card.  Uresti said the measure would boost voter rolls, encourage young adults to get involved in the political process, and lead to greater turnout on Election Day.   Currently 12 states offer online paperless voter registration, two others are in the process of implementing laws to do so.   Arizona, the first state to offer online registration in 2002, experienced a 9.5 percent increase in the number of people signing up to vote in just the first two years. More than 70 percent of all voter registrations are now performed online in Arizona, according the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Online registration also saves money. According to a 2010 report, "Online Voter Registration: Case Studies in Arizona and Washington," each paper registration costs 83 cents, compared to 3 cents for registering online.   "My bill simply acknowledges that we live in the electronic age," Uresti said. "It's time we brought the voter registration process into the 21st Century."

 

Sen. Uresti represents Senate District 19, which covers more than 35,000 square miles and contains all or part of 17 counties, two international ports of entry, ten state parks, 51 school districts, almost 9,000 miles of highways and county roads, and more than 29,000 producing oil and gas wells. The district is larger than 11 states and 124 Nations, and contains almost 400 miles of the Texas-Mexico border.

10 Things to Know for Today

Thursday, 25 April 2013 17:27 Published in April 2013

The Associated Press Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

 

1. REVELATIONS ABOUT QUESTIONING OF BOSTON BOMB SUSPECT U.S. officials say Dzokhar Tsarnaev stopped talking after he was read his Miranda rights, and after admitting his role in the marathon attacks.

2. BANGLADESH BUILDING ORDERED CLOSED A DAY BEFORE COLLAPSE Factories flouted the mandate — despite deep cracks visible in the walls — before the building tumbled down, killing more than 200 people.

3. WARNINGS IN KOREAS, THIS TIME FROM THE SOUTH Seoul warned of a "grave measure" if North Korea rejects talks on reopening a jointly run factory park shuttered for nearly a month.

4. A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE IN THE U.S. ECONOMY A new survey today finds Americans' belief in the job market has rebounded to a normal level from record lows after the Great Recession.

5. FUEL BARGES BURNING ON ALABAMA RIVER At least seven explosions created a major fire that left three workers hospitalized burned overnight on the Mobile River.

6. WHERE ALL LIVING U.S. PRESIDENTS WILL BE Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush will join George W. Bush for the dedication in Dallas of his presidential library.

7. A MEMORIAL FOR TEXAS FERTILIZER BLAST VICTIMS President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will attend the service at Baylor University for the 14 people killed.

8. MYSTERY MOTIVE FOR KILLINGS OF 5 IN ILLINOIS TOWN Police say the victims — including two boys — killed by a mayor's nephew were related, but didn't reveal a reason for the shootings.

9. SWEARING NEWSCASTER GETS 15 MINUTES A.J. Clemente, fired as a North Dakota news anchor after his profanity-laced debut, was asked to appear on "Today" and David Letterman's show.

10. HEAVY ON SIZE IN NFL DRAFT Linemen like Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel are expected to dominate the top picks tonight.