Rep. Gary VanDeaver is karate chopping red tape to get things done

Chuck Norris must have dropped some magic karate dust on Gary VanDeaver back in 2014, because the New Boston superintendent turned state representative is getting things done in Austin by chopping through the weeds of state government.

Over the last few days, Rep. VanDeaver has tried to inform the public about what he's been doing in the State Capital. Actually, it's quite a lot.

Some politicians just talk, and others try to move the needle. So keep up the good work, Representative VanDeaver.

Below, you will find his updates in his own words from May 23 and May 21.

May 23, 2019:

Over the last few days, I have had several bills that have now passed the both chambers of the legislature and are now on the way to Governor Greg Abbott's desk, where they will hopefully be signed into law.

HB 1051 updated statues for a dropout recovery school, Goodwill Excel Center in Austin, that provides students from 18 to 50 a chance to earn their high school diploma. Three million Texans do not have a high school diploma, which must change. I am very proud to help programs like the Goodwill Excel Center because they do an excellent job catching students up and preparing them and their families for better future.

HB 396 clarifies that school districts can use funds from the state's Instructional Material Allotment (IMA) to purchase inventory software to ensure that materials and technology are properly tracked, stored, and managed efficiently.

HB 3511 establishes the Commission on Texas Workforce of the Future to engage business, state agencies, and local workforce system partners in the efforts of state and local authorities to build the state's workforce talent pipeline. The commission shall develop recommendations and deliver a report to the governor including recommendations for statutory and regulatory changes to enhance workforce development and coordination between industry, public education, and higher education.

I am proud to be the House sponsor for Senate Bill 372 by Senator Donna Campbell. Currently, open-enrollment charter schools do not have the same access to employing security personnel that traditional public schools have. This bill changes statute so that these schools have the same ability to employ security personnel and school resource officers, as well as commission peace officers. I am proud to have increased the safety of our Texas children with this bill.

As a former superintendent and educator, I strongly believe that improving our schools should be a priority in order to give every Texas son and daughter the opportunity to succeed. I believe these bills will make significant strides to improving opportunities for the success of the children in the state of Texas.

May 21, 2019:

As of today, I have three bills that have passed both chambers and are on the way to Governor Greg Abbott's desk, where they will hopefully soon be signed into law.

HB 330: House Bill 330 is a result of a local issue in our own district. When a local student suffered a brain injury that kept him in 24-hour medical care fighting for his life, the current education code labeled him a drop out. HB 330 adds an exemption to the code for students in tragic situations like this, helping both them and their schools when it comes to accountability ratings.

SB 579: TexAmericas Center is a great economic partner for Bowie County and Northeast Texas. I am glad to have sponsored SB 579 this session to guide the bill through the Texas House on behalf of TexAmericas to help it grow our economy. I hope that Governor Abbott will soon sign SB 579, and I appreciate his consideration. It's always a pleasure to work with Scott Norton and other TexAmericas Center officials who are always working hard to put our region first.

HB 2351: House Bill 2351 establishes a memorial highway for Nick S. Lingo of Lamar County located on Farm to Market 196. Nick S. Lingo was a Union Carpenter and a farmer who served his family and many members of the community. He was also one of the original members of the Rural Electric Company, now known as Lamar Electric Cooperative, as well as a member of the Lamar County Water Supply. Mr. Lingo was a loved and well-respected man in the community. To honor Mr. Lingo, HB 2351 dedicates the portion of FM 196 as the Nick S. Lingo Memorial Highway.

These bills seek to address local concerns and issues that were brought to my attention last year. I have several more bills that are still moving through Senate. There is still a significant amount of work to be done in the final days of the 86th regular session. I am honored to represent House District 1 and to have the opportunity to address serious issues and improve the lives of Texans who live in Lamar, Bowie, Red River, and Franklin County at the local level.