State Rep. Bailes reflects on legislative session

State Rep. Ernest Bailes, who represents Liberty, San Jacinto and Walker counties in House District 18, spent an hour with members of the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. Bailes explained how bills make their way through the House committees before moving on to the Senate.

The 86th Legislature adjourned sine die on Monday, May 27, marking the end of a successful session for the state of Texas. Representative Ernest Bailes of HD 18, which includes Liberty, San Jacinto and Walker counties, believes he helped pass meaningful legislation for his district, as well as help facilitate the passage of the state’s major priorities, including school finance and property tax reform.

“I am thankful for the progress we have made this session, and I’m ready to get back to the district to continue working with the constituents of HD 18 to build on what we’ve accomplished this year. There’s never a shortage of work to be done,” Bailes said.

At the top of the priority list for the House was the need to improve the state’s system of paying for public education. With the passage of HB 3, the basic allotment per student was significantly increased, over $5 billion was provided in statewide property tax relief, and recapture payments were reduced by 47 percent, or an astounding $3.6 billion.

Retired teachers were not forgotten with the passage of HB 1 and SB 500, which will provide a 13th check as well as make TRS actuarially sound.

“It’s not a secret I have a family full of educators, and I answer to them when I come home each session,” Bailes said of the need for transformative education reform in Texas. For more on HB 3, go to

The property tax system was addressed in SB 2, increasing transparency by providing more accessible information to property owners, and lowering the voter approval rate for most taxing units to 3.5 percent. This bill will work in tandem with the “Texas Plan” for school finance to provide billions of dollars in property tax relief.

Bailes also passed, sponsored, and supported many other key pieces of legislation, including, but not limited, to:

  • HB 5, requiring TDEM (Texas Division of Emergency Management) to develop a catastrophic debris management plan
  • HB 3838, a win for private property rights, amending the Texas Property Code to protect mineral or royalty interest owners from fraudulent lease offers
  • HB 1409, protecting landowners from appraisers unfairly changing the use of their land and being charged back taxes on land removed from use as land for timber production
  • HB 2867, establishing the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Sam Houston State University, addressing the primary care physician shortage in rural Texas
  • SB 1264, protecting Texans from surprise medical billings when they may unknowingly get care out of their network
  • HB 1, maintaining the levels of funding for border security over the previous biennium
  • HB 16, protecting babies who survive abortions by requiring doctors to provide the highest standard of medical care possible
  • HB 18, increasing awareness of mental health and school safety and providing resources for educators to know how and when to intervene

“Voting for legislation that brings meaningful change to so many across the state of Texas makes the past six months worth every minute. I am blessed to be back with my family in East Texas and will continue to work on the issues our constituents care about most,” Bailes said.

Bailes is serving his second term as a state legislator for House District 18, serving on the Energy Resources and Corrections Committees. 

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