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Murr addresses BCRW

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Photo by Judith Pannebaker
Texas House District 53 Representative Andrew Murr visited with Bandera County Republican Women President Linda James during the Friday, Nov. 13, meeting.

Texas House District 53 Representative Andrew Murr spoke to members and guests of the Bandera County Republican Women during a monthly meeting on Friday, Nov. 13. Murr also announced his run for re-election.
District 53 encompasses 15,000 square miles and 12 counties - Bandera, Crockett, Edwards, Kerr, Kimble, Llano, Mason, Medina, Menard, Real, Schleicher and Sutton. "There are nine states in the United States that are smaller than this Texas District," Murr said, adding "I'm proud to represent rural Texas."
In a state that boasts 27 million residents - with 1,000 moving here daily - only about 3 million residents live in rural Texas. Nevertheless, Murr said, rural Texans make a "huge impact on what happens in this state. People who live in urban centers love to visit rural Texas," which, of course, is typified by the Hill Country.
"(Rural legislators) must work hard to educate others about our concerns," Murr continued. "There were times when Houston, Dallas and San Antonio had some really great ideas, but we had to say, 'That's really good, but could you exclude us from your 'really great ideas'?"
During Murr's freshman foray into Texas' 84th Legislature, 11,000 pieces of legislation were filed in the 140-day session. Of the 6,200 bills filed, 1,300 were sent to the governor's desk to become law. He also noted that the House voted 1,833 times on motions, bills, amendments to bills and resolutions. "During the session, I only missed two votes House votes," Murr said.
He became one of four co-sponsors of HB 7, which involved a charge tacked on to telephone bills earmarked as 9-1-1 funds. Although councils of government throughout Texas were supposed to dispense the funds locally, in the past, $900 million was allowed to accrue and used to "balance the budget."
"This won't happen in the future. There's now a Constitutional amendment requiring dedicated funds to be used for their original purpose," Murr said.
Additionally, HB 7 ended state collection of professional fees, which saves small town practitioners about $125 million annually.
Murr became the only freshman legislator appointed to the House Transportation Committee. Committee accomplishments included using a designating an appropriated amount of money from motor vehicle registrations and sales taxes to the state highway fund. "This provides TxDOT (the Texas Department of Transportation) with a steady stream of income, allowing projects to be completed in a reasonable amount of time," Murr explained. "This was a significant change."
His other appointments included to the Select Committee on Mental Health, which delves into the realms of insurance coverage, criminal justice system, state health services and charitable organizations. "The issue of mental health is a big deal in small towns with limited money and training," Murr explained.
He was also one of only two House members appointed to the Texas Judicial Council, which is chaired by the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court Nathan Hecht.
Before concluding, Murr addressed "one of the most important facets in the Hill Country" - water. Texas water policy, he predicted, will be shaped in the next five to 10 years and he urged everyone to keep abreast of important developments.
After introducing his district director, Kellie Early, Murr urged his constituents to "pick up the phone and voice your concerns with Kelly or me and we'll the problem if we can."
Telephone for his Kerrville office, located at 715 Water Street, is 830-257-0432.