With the biennial Texas Legislative Session set to begin Jan. 12, a number of bills have already been filed by state representatives and senators who cover the Cy-Fair area. The state began allowing legislators to pre-file bills Nov. 9.

Speaking at a Nov. 17 luncheon hosted by the Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce, Rep. Jon Rosenthal, D-Houston, said he expects the restrictions on the state budget brought on by the coronavirus pandemic to bleed into talks about school finance. Rosenthal represents Texas House District 135, which covers parts of Cy-Fair, including Jersey Village and the Copperfield area.

"This pandemic crisis has a tremendous economic impact on our state; we are walking into a budget shortfall that is predicted to be around $4.7 billion," Rosenthal said. "It is my goal to prioritize keeping the gains we got in public education last time. It's going to be a tough hill to climb."

Rosenthal, who has pre-filed seven bills as of Nov. 24, also spoke on some of that legislation at the luncheon, including a bill to remove sales tax from gun safety equipment to try to incentivize safe storage.

Here are the other bills filed by Cy-Fair-area representatives and senators as of Nov. 24. Bills filed so far cover a wide variety of topics, including early voting, telemedicine and public education.

Rep. Tom Oliverson, District 130

  • House Bill 113: Would require peer-to-peer car sharing programs to assume liability for the owner of a vehicle for injuries or property damage to third parties, with some exceptions.

  • House Bill 373: Would require the state to change the color of the registration stickers each year to a color that is easily distinguishable from the previous year.

  • House Bill 515: Would require companies that issue health benefit plans to reimburse a preferred or contracted health professional for providing a covered health care service to a covered patient as a telemedicine medical service on the same basis and at least at the same rate that the issuer provides reimbursement for in-person services.

  • House Bill 573: Would require health care sharing ministries to obtain a certificate of registration that must be renewed on an annual basis; would also set rules for ministries, including the requirement of monthly statements.

Rep. Jon Rosenthal, District 135

  • House Bill 337: Would require anyone operating an animal shelter to keep records and have them available for inspection, including the number of live animals taken in, the reason the animal was taken in and the total number of animals at the shelter on the last day of each month.

  • House Bill 338: Would allow a resident to apply for a new birth certificate with a change to their name or sex; application would have to include a sworn affidavit from a physician confirming the applicant has undergone a "clinically appropriate treatment for the purpose of transitioning to another sex."

  • House Bill 342: Would require facilities operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to keep temperature no lower than 65 degrees and no higher than 85 degrees.

  • House Bill 524: Would create sales tax exemptions for firearm safety equipment, including gun lock boxes, gun safes, barrel locks, trigger locks and other items designed to ensure the safe handling or storage of firearms.

  • House Bill 626: Would expand the Texas Innovative Adult Career Education Grant Program to include grants for nonprofits to provide job training to veterans.

  • House Bill 627: Would create a criminal offense of a Class B misdemeanor for intimidating or interfering with someone who is seeking or providing health care services or attending a place of worship.

  • House Bill 628: Would prohibit an increase in rent at development supported with a low-income housing tax credit, except under certain voucher programs or rental subsidy programs.

Sen. Paul Bettencourt, District 7

  • Senate Bill 208: Would prohibit an officer or employee of the state or a political subdivision from distributing an official early voting application form.

  • Senate Bill 215: Would create an office of inspector general with the Texas Education Agency to investigate the administration of public education, including the prevention and detection of fraud and waste.