For The People

XVI Border Legislative Conference Santa Fe, New Mexico Oct. 18-20, 2007

XVI Border Legislative Conference Santa Fe, New Mexico Oct. 18-20, 2007

Subtitle_accomplishments

Public Education

Secured continued funding for the most successful dropout prevention program in Texas. Under S.B. 1 (the state budget), $41.9 million was appropriated for the Communities in Schools (CIS) program.

Improved public education funding formulas for El Paso ISD. Working with Representative Scott Hochberg (D-Houston), I amended H.B. 3646 to include a special funding allotment for students who are moving to Texas as a result of BRAC or whose families have been deployed in an active combat zone.

Continued our efforts to increase financial literacy in El Paso and across Texas. Working with Representative Scott Hochberg (D-Houston), I amended H.B. 3646 to require regional Education Service Centers (ESCs) to train teachers on the financial literacy curriculum and offer individualized training and assistance on teaching personal financial literacy.

Supported key provisions in H.B. 1, increasing the State's contribution to the Teacher Retirement System from 6.0 percent to 6.58 percent ($645 million) and authorizing an increase in teacher contributions, making possible a 13th check paid to retirees. H.B. 1 also appropriates $285 million to provide all Texas teachers with a $430 pay raise for each of the next two years, and $100 million for a new scholarship program for Top 10% students.

Passed H.B. 1609 to further improve our most successful dropout prevention program, Communities in Schools (CIS). H.B. 1609, targets dropout prevention by expanding the Student Success Initiative to the 8th grade and funding teacher academies to the tune of $42.1 million for the biennium.

Sponsored H.B. 2814, which appropriates $4 million for a dual-language pilot program in no more than 30 campuses at 10 school districts across the state, to ensure our state leads the way in a multi-language world. Independent studies of dual language programs have shown that dual language is the best method in which to close the achievement gap between English learners and English speakers. Dual language programs also experience lower dropout rates than other bilingual education programs.

Passed S.B. 962 which helps build the fourteen new schools that troops and families will need. The bill reduces a school district's wealth per student by 25 percent for instructional facilities allotment (IFA) purposes if the district must construct, acquire, renovate, or improve an instructional facility as a result of incoming BRAC students. With a $4.9 million budget allocation, S.B. 962 will help BRAC-impacted school districts secure the IFA funding necessary to properly serve the children of military personnel transferring due to BRAC.

Authored Senate Bill (S.B.) 396 to put laptops in all Texas schools.

Authored S.B. 851 and sponsored House Bill (H.B.) 492, the Texas Financial Literacy Act to ensure that every Texas child learns basic financial skills such as how to balance a check book, use a credit card responsibly, and plan for buying a home.

Co-sponsored H.B. 4 and worked with authors of other public education legislation to create law that would advance the use of technology in public schools by expanding the laptop immersion pilot program.

Passed S.B. 111 which guarantees that motivated high school students receive college credits for rigorous programs such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma program, the College Board's Advancement Placement Tests, College Level Exam Program tests, and dual credit courses.

Worked to ensure public school participation in Catch Program.

Higher Education

Secured $48 million for our new medical school. In addition, we secured $17 million for a new clinical faculty.

Supported key provisions in the area of higher education under H.B. 1, including increased funding for UTEP by 17.82 percent with an appropriation of $166 million; increased funding for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center by 33.74 percent with an appropriation of $352 million; and, adding Cancer Research as a special item for Texas Tech University HSC ($4.8 million).

Passed in the Texas Legislature authority for a four-year Medical School at Texas Tech’s El Paso campus, and secured funding for a research building and a new classroom building for the first new medical school in the U.S. in thirty years.

Secured $48 million in funding to hire first and second-year faculty for the Texas Tech El Paso Medical School.

Passed a Rider to secure $45 million for a research building on the Texas Tech campus.

Through legislative action Texas Tech is given the authority to issue up to $45 million in tuition revenue bonds allowing construction of a medical school building.

Secured $7 million for debt service for the $45 million Basic Sciences Research building.

Secured a $45 million BioSciences Building for Medical Research at UTEP.

Increased funding at the University of Texas at El Paso, especially formula funding in the Research and Excellence Fund.

Spearheaded the research, comptroller performance reviews and initiative to reform UTEP and move graduation rates from 4.5% to 50% by 2014 with passage of S.B. 282.

Health and Human Services

Secured $12.3 million in additional funding in S.B. 1 to increase monthly visitation by Child Protective Services (CPS) caseworkers. Working with the chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), and the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Steve Ogden (R-Bryan), I amended S.B. 69 to require that at least 95% of the children in the custody of the state are visited by a case worker each month. The 95% benchmark is based on federal guidelines. Although S.B. 69 ultimately did not pass, the funds for this specific purpose were appropriated in the final budget.

Helped alleviate physician shortages throughout the Border region. I passed S.B. 202 to allow qualified, out-of-state doctors to begin seeing patients while waiting for their licensure applications to be processed. I also co-sponsored H.B. 2154, which will give doctors $160,000 in loan repayment for practicing in medically underserved areas. Lastly, working with Representative Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), I co-sponsored H.B. 3674 to allow specialty board certification to serve as proof of medical school equivalency, which will expedite the licensure process for foreign medical graduates.

Co-sponsored H.B. 109, which covers as many as 127,000 more uninsured children through the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). About 11,000 El Paso children have lost their CHIP coverage since budget cuts in 2003.

Co-sponsored H.B. 14, the enabling legislation for H.J.R. 90, which will send a proposal to the voters to fund $3 billion in bonds for cancer research.

Worked on key provisions in H.B. 1, which includes $706 million to settle Frew v. Hawkins, increasing reimbursement rates by 25 percent for doctors who see children on Medicaid, and increasing reimbursement rates by 50 percent. H.B. 1, also addresses U.S. Department of Justice findings at the Lubbock State School with $49 million to meet staffing ratio requirements and to integrate 250 state school consumers into the HCS Program for the biennium. Finally, H.B. 1 appropriates an additional $34.5 million in general revenue and $65.4 in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to increase staffing levels to lower caseloads, enhance training and provide additional technology for the Department of Family and Protective Services.

Passed H.B. 1168, which regulates lodge homes for mentally ill, disabled and elderly Texans. The pilot program was previously established for registration, licensing and oversight of this category of residential homes. The legislation expands and makes the pilot program permanent and statewide.

Technology

Authored S.B. 974 that launched 'Texas Online', one of the best state online government website in the U.S.

Founded Frontier of the Americas Technology Program that provides laptops to elementary schools.

Worked with the Governor to create an Emerging Technology Fund to increase the presence of advanced technology in Texas and was integral in appropriating $200 million to the Emerging Technology. Also worked to ensure that El Paso was named as one of the first locations to be home to a Regional Center of Innovation and Commercialization (RCIC) Health.

Co-authored and served on the conference committee for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) bill and spearheaded El Paso's initiative to enroll more than 40,000 children with health insurance.

Authored the omnibus Adult Protective Services reform legislation, and co-authored S.B. 6, the omnibus APS and CPS reform bill creating the Guardianship Certification Board, tightening procedures by providing more quality assurance of the state guardianship program, ensuring a more thorough review of cases by staff and special task units, and changing the emergency order process to provide a more immediate response.

Founded Border Health Foundation.

In the 79th Session helped to restore vision, dental, and mental health benefits to the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Military

Spearheaded El Paso’s initiative and coordinated with the County of El Paso, Lt. Governor Dewhurst and General Land Office Commissioner Jerry Patterson to create a $12.2 million, 160 bed State Veteran’s Home for El Paso.

Authored and passed S.B. 652 that created $250 million Texas Military Value Fund to be used by cities to enhance existing military bases.

Passed S.B. 962 which helps build the fourteen new schools that troops and families will need. The bill reduces a school district's wealth per student by 25 percent for instructional facilities allotment (IFA) purposes if the district must construct, acquire, renovate, or improve an instructional facility as a result of incoming BRAC students. With a $4.9 million budget allocation, S.B. 962 will help BRAC-impacted school districts secure the IFA funding necessary to properly serve the children of military personnel transferring due to BRAC.

Passed S.B. 1912 which assists teachers moving into the community as a result of BRAC. Texas law provides for a one-year temporary teaching certificate for teachers to use while the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) determines what tests the teacher must take to be certified in Texas. The bill will extend the temporary certification period for one year past the date that SBEC informs the teacher of the required tests to ensure that teachers in BRAC-impacted districts have an adequate time in which to comply with SBEC's testing requirements.

Amended H.B. 3107 to recreate statutorily the Veterans' Assistance Fund. A contingency rider in H.B. 1, appropriated $2 million into the Fund to help our state's veterans with costs associated with transportation to medical care, surgery and treatment.

Co-authored S.B. 685 which exempts mandatory fees, in addition to tuition, for members of the Texas Military Forces attending institutions of higher education for up to 12 credit hours per semester through the Texas National Guard Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).

Authored and passed S.B. 652 that created $250 million Texas Military Value Fund to be used by cities to enhance existing Texas military bases.

Fought for $30 million to fund the Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant (DEAAG) to support defense dependent communities and entities to respond to or recover from defense installation closures or realignments.

Secured grant funding to build the El Paso Water Utilities build a desalination plant and a water reclamation project to address water supply needs at Fort Bliss.

Passed S.B. 1479, the Texas Soldier's Payday Protection Act to prevent predatory lending abuses on Texas soldiers.

Passed S.B. 212, a bill that directs the Texas Workforce Commission to create employment assistance programs for spouses and dependents of military personnel in Texas' defense-dependent communities to help newly transferred dependents quickly find employment.

Worked with Representative Pat Haggerty (R-El Paso) to pass H.B. 1924 which authorizes the Texas Historical Commission to assist and fund $150,000 for Fort Bliss Military Reservation in the establishment and operation of the museum and study center.

Environment

Passed S.B. 1762 which requires the Texas Water Development Board, in coordination with the Far West Texas Water Planning Group, to conduct a study on the impact of climate change on surface water. The bill also requires the board to submit a written report regarding its findings to the legislature.

Amended S.B. 1561, authorizing an international emissions credits program through TCEQ to allow for the development of air emissions trading to clean up El Paso air and make El Paso more attractive to business.

Worked closely with the Public Service Board (PSB), and the City of El Paso, to add approximately 1,850 acres of land to the Franklin Mountain State Park (1,600 acres in Northeast El Paso and 200 acres in West El Paso). With this expansion come new trailheads, allowing the El Paso community and the thousands of visitors from all over the country each year, better access to the park. This transfer of land and development of trailheads illustrates Senator Shapleigh's commitment to providing the best quality of life for El Pasoans, including the 21,000 troops and families coming to Fort Bliss over the next five years.

Authored S.B. 749 giving the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission the authority to participate in environmental projects in Mexico and to study means to reduce air pollutants in certain facilities in the border region.

Spearheaded El Paso's initiative to STOP 7000 tons of new air emissions from ASARCO.

Fought to ensure homes in Rim Road, Kern, Chihuahuita, Segundo Barrio, Sunset and Mission Hills area that are contaminated with lead and arsenic are remediated according to EPA standards.

Passed S.B. 1413 gives local governments the authority to create Brownfield Programs, a fund through a tax or fee assessment for investment in site clean-up and preparation thereby providing the opportunity for continued economic growth within the local jurisdiction.

Transportation

Fought to increase El Paso's highway funding from $26 million in 1994 to $140 million in 2003.

Passed S.B. 913 to create one-stop Border inspection stations to move commercial traffic across ports-of-entry faster and safer.

Organized the BLC Economic Development Committee and launched Secure, Fast, Smart Border 2020.

Created a Taskforce to study the creation of a Camino Real Port Authority.

As Chair of MPO/TPB, spearheaded regional GIS mapping and rail research capacity.

Co-sponsored H.B. 1546 and HJR 54, the Texas Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund bill and resolution to focus rail projects and promote major projects in metropolitan areas.

Wrote legislation to make El Paso one of only two cities in Texas that has the authority to form a Regional Mobility authority (RMA); finance projects in Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico if the projects are mutually beneficial to the state of Texas; and, made El Paso the only city in the state that has the authority to build transportation infrastructure in Mexico that will benefit the state of Texas.

Passed a Rider for $1.7 million to create the International Center for Intelligent Transportation, a Texas Transportation Institute center in El Paso, the first of its kind in the United States.

Economic Development

Reformed the appraisal district appeal process. Working with Representative Bill Callegari (R-Katy), I amended H.B. 1030 to require Texas' largest counties—including El Paso—to provide for electronic protest of property tax appraisals.

Filed S.B. 2027, and later amended S.B. 11 to authorize the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to initiate a pilot program similar to one enacted recently in Washington under which DPS would issue an enhanced driver’s license for individuals who apply for one. The enhanced driver’s license will look much like a conventional driver’s license, but will also include proof of citizenship and other information that can easily be scanned at border ports-of-entry.

Co-authored S.B. 441 which created Border Job Creation Tax Credits for research and development.

Amended S.B. 370 to create Strategic Investment Areas to increase Texas Highway Funding for financially disadvantaged communities.

Worked to create a business incubator at UTEP.

Organized with the "One Stop Capital Shop" a series of block walks to notify small business throughout El Paso about key programs.

Worked with Boeing to bring 800 employees to El Paso.

Author of bill that required major revisions in Texas Business incentives policy to extract maximum value.

Author of a key amendment to extend H.B. 1200 (business incentives bill) to 43 Border Counties, worth hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives in next 10 years.

Spearheaded El Paso Economic Development, Access to Capital and Education summits.

Author of bill to create Border Commerce Czar in Texas Secretary of State's office.

Worked with all Texas lenders to pass home equity lending bill.

Worked with Raytheon to grow El Paso's Just-in-time Defense Manufacturing Center.

Won approval for the Texas Education Agency to spend up to $800,000 to develop a demand-driven workforce curriculum to bridge the gap between workers' current abilities and the skills they will need to succeed in the new economy.

Local Government

75th Legislature (1997) County Court at Law No. 6 of El Paso County, Texas.

75th Legislature (1997) County Court at Law No. 7 of El Paso County, Texas.

76th Legislature (1999) 388th Judicial District, El Paso County, Texas.

76th Legislature (1999) 409th Judicial District, El Paso County, Texas.

77th Legislature (2001) County Criminal Court No. 1 of El Paso County, Texas.

77th Legislature (2001) County Criminal Court No. 2 of El Paso County, Texas.

79th Legislature (2005) Probate Court No. 2 of El Paso County, Texas.

80th Legislature (2007) County Criminal Court No. 3 of El Paso County, Texas.

80th Legislature (2007) County Criminal Court No. 4. of El Paso County, Texas.

80th Legislature (2007) 448th Judicial District, El Paso County, Texas.

80th Legislature (2007) El Paso County Criminal District No.1 to focus on felony drug cases.

Quality of Life

Created the El Paso County Ethics Commission, the first of its kind in Texas. S.B. 1368 will allow the county to establish an independent ethics commission that will adopt, publish and enforce an ethics code governing county public servants.

Passed storm water fee exemption legislation. S.B. 1522 will exempt property owned by school districts, while S.B. 874 will exempt property owned by the county from fees.

Enhanced Border security. Working with the chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security, Senator John Carona (R-Dallas), we amended H.B. 2086 to curb gang activity in Texas and stop violent transnational drug cartels. The bill will help transform the Department of Public Safety (DPS) by giving the agency new tools to identify, arrest and prosecute cartel leaders. I also co-authored S.B. 2225 to make it a third-degree felony for an individual to knowingly transport or transfer a firearm across the Texas-Mexico border.

Stopped the spread of colonias. I sponsored H.B. 2833 to ensure that any new homes built in Texas counties will be held to the same high standards as those used in incorporated areas of the state.

Protected orphan trusts from being moved outside of Texas. I passed S.B. 666 to create a system that will ensure that charitable foundations in Texas remain in the state by prohibiting a financial institution administering a charitable trust from changing the location if its administration to another state, unless otherwise authorized in the terms of a trust.

Filed S.B. 1588 and amended its provisions into S.B. 3 to ensure that counties adopt regulations for flood plain management that are not less stringent than those set forth by the National Flood Insurance Program, and provide for the imposition of penalties on landowners that are in violation of such measures.

Passed, S.B. 688 to assist the city with creating storm water districts, which manage and control storm water drainage.

Strongly supported a key provision on H.B. 1 that increased our State parks funding, currently ranked 49th nationwide, by 75 percent, for a total $171.7 million and appropriated $47.7 million for state local parks grants. With this appropriation, it will be possible to invest $500,000 in the creation of a visitors center that will help engage and teach our community on the history and splendor that is the Franklin Mountain State Park. The city's master plan locates the center on the Northeast side of the Franklin Mountains.

Worked closely with the Public Service Board (PSB), and the City of El Paso, to add approximately 1,850 acres of land to the Franklin Mountain State Park (1,600 acres in Northeast El Paso and 200 acres in West El Paso). With this expansion come new trailheads, allowing the El Paso community and the thousands of visitors from all over the country each year, better access to the park. This transfer of land and development of trailheads illustrates Senator Shapleigh's commitment to providing the best quality of life for El Pasoans, including the 21,000 troops and families coming to Fort Bliss over the next five years.

Sponsored H.B. 1355 to increase the penalty to a state jail felony for an owner of a dangerous dog that is not secured properly (roaming loosely off their property) and makes an unprovoked attack that causes serious bodily injury. In the event that such an attack causes the victim's death, the penalty is increased to a second degree felony.

Created El Paso Pride program to improve the city's highways and neighborhoods.

Wrote historic Sun Bowl legislation that creates a rental tax used to fund, in part, the annual game.

Founded Mission Valley Steering Committee to put more investment in Historic Mission Valley.

Spearheaded the funding of $2 million for restoration of the Socorro Mission and created the Historic Mission License Plates program.

Spearheaded the creation of the Sun Bowl International Youth Soccer Tournament.

Spearheaded Westside Soccer Complex construction.

Formed partnership to build Fort Bliss Soccer Complex.

Passed legislation to refurbish and open the Wyler Aerial Tramway.

Sponsored H.B. 152 that specifically includes schools, whether public or private, and institutions of higher education among the places on which marking with graffiti may constitute a state jail felony.

Sponsored H.B. 1063 which requires a juvenile court to order a juvenile engaged in a graffiti offense to pay a graffiti eradication fee.

Fought for funding and construction of the first state office building in El Paso.

Co-founded Community Scholars Program, El Paso's nationally recognized youth leadership program.

Published El Paso Factbook to provide grant writers with tools necessary to write grants.

Partnered with City of Socorro to open SCORE office, and changed named to Mission Valley.

Founded and funded "Adelante con Ganas", a voter awareness campaign to increase voter turnout in EP County.

Founded El Paso Counts, a not for profit dedicated to voter turnout in El Paso.

Subtitle_awards

International

Chairman of the Border Legislative Caucus of the 10 US-Mexico Border States

National

2010 NASW National Public Elected Official of the Year Award

2007 MALDEF Matt Garcia Public Service Award

Legislator of the Year (American School Health Association)

Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers of Information Technology (Government Technology Magazine)

2006 Distinguished Service Award (National Sierra Club)

Statewide

2007 American Electronics Association's "Texas Technology Champion" Award

2007 Friend of Education Award (Texas Council for the Social Studies)

Texas Education Leadership Award for 2005 (Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce -- TAMACC)

Texas Legislator of the Year for 2005 (Texas International Baccalaureate Schools)

Texas Legislator of the Year (Mexican American Bar Association)

Texas Legislative Champion for School Children (Texas Equity Center)

Texas Classroom Advocate of the Year (Classroom Teachers Association)

Texas Legislator of the Year (Hispanic Journal)

Texas Legislative Technology Visionary Award (Government Technology Conference)

Texas Legislator of Year (Texas Chapter of the Sierra Club)

Texas Legislator of Year (Texas AARP)

Texas Advocate for Children Award (Child Crisis Centers of Texas)

Top 20 Legislators of the Year (Texas Pharmacy Association)

Texas Advocacy Award (American Cancer Society)

2005 Public Interest Champion Award (Texas Impact, TexPIRG and Campaigns for People)

Freedom to Teach Award 2006 (Association of Texas Professionals)

Conscience of the Senate (Texas Monthly)

Legislative Excellence Award (Texas Independent Living Council)

"Freedom to Teach Award" for dedicated service to public education in 2005 (Association of Texas Professional Educators)

Local

2011 Bravo Award from the League of Women Voters for lifetime achievements as a public official.

Public Official of the Year 2008 - National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Texas Chapter, El Paso Branch

El Paso Conquistador Award (El Paso City Council)

El Pasoan of the Year (El Paso Inc., for work on El Paso Medical School)

Hannah G. Solomon Award (National Council of Jewish Women - El Paso Section)

Humanitarian of the Year 2004 (Black El Paso Democrats)

2004 "Best of the Border" Public Servant of the Year Award - (What's Up Magazine)

Technology Hall of Fame Inductee (El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce)

El Paso Democratic Party Hall of Fame

Public Servant of the Year Award (Volar)

El Paso Lighthouse 2006 Advocacy Award

Advocate Award 2006 (Texas Council on Adult Literacy)

Community Service Award 2006 (Ray Pearson Group)

Legislator of the Year 2006 (El Paso Municipal Police Association )

Champion of Choice Award (NARAL)