The 87th Legislature adjourned on May 31, marking the end of a demanding session. State Representative Ernest Bailes of House District 18 was able to take part in the establishment of meaningful legislation for his district, as well as the entire state of Texas.
“It was an honor to serve the people of HD 18 this session as we cross the finish line known as sine die,” stated Rep. Bailes. “Unforeseen events in the last two years have brought numerous challenges to Texans, many of which we addressed legislatively through measures I was pleased to support.”
As the only constitutionally-mandated task the legislature must complete each session, the state budget was approved for 2022-2023. Members were able to establish a balanced, fiscally responsible plan that reduced spending overall by $13.5 billion.
Representative Bailes passed, sponsored, and supported many key pieces of legislation, including:
- ERCOT Reform – Multiple legislative reforms were passed to ensure that Texas is prepared for future natural disasters.
- Second Amendment Rights – While maintaining protocols for background checks and all current laws regarding safe gun practices, the Firearm Carry Act further protects second amendment rights through permit-less carry.
- Rural Broadband Expansion – House Bill 5 creates the Broadband Development Office which will establish the expansion of broadband services to rural and underserved areas across Texas.
- Public Education Reform – HB 1525 brings about a new phase for restructuring public education, providing more equity across all Texas school districts and increasing the Foundation School Program formula funding.
- Support for Retired Teachers – The state budget increases the state’s contribution rates at the Teacher’s Retirement System (TRS), and allocates over $890 million to maintain current health insurance premiums and benefits through TRS-Care.
- Property Owner Rights – HB 448, included in HB 2730, establishes the opportunity for land owners to file a complaint against an entity proposing to acquire their property under eminent domain authority.
- Protection for Unborn Life – SB 8, the Texas Heartbeat Act, prohibits abortions after the detection of an unborn child’s heartbeat.
- Healthy Texas Families – The pandemic made clear that Texas needs permanent solutions for easier access to health care, and HB 4 along with HB 2056 make technological leaps forward to promote engagement in health, telemedicine, and teledentistry services.
- A Safe and Secure Texas – SB 15 bans the sale of personal data from certain state agencies, and the budget allocates over $1 billion on border security.
- Law Enforcement Support – HB 1900 provides corrective solutions for municipalities that do not appropriately fund their police, while SB 23 requires certain counties to hold elections before reducing the funding of the county’s primary law enforcement agency or reallocating their funds.
- Protecting the Freedom to Worship – Multiple measures were passed, confirming religious organizations and their activities are essential at all times, and ensuring no church is closed by a governmental entity.
“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve my community,” Bailes said. “I look forward to getting back home to provide details on the work we’ve accomplished, though there’s still work to be done on election integrity and bail reform in the interim.”
About Representative Bailes
Elected in 2016, State Representative Ernest Bailes represents House District 18, including Liberty, San Jacinto, and Walker counties. Bailes, a lifelong rancher and agriculturalist, was raised on his family’s dairy and beef cattle operation in East Texas. He grew up in Shepherd and earned his B.S. from Texas A&M University in 2004. Ernest and his wife, Courtney live in Shepherd, Texas with their two sons, Cinco and Rigby. Both sons attend Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD where Courtney is a school teacher. Ernest is active in the community and serves on various boards, including the San Jacinto County Fair Association, San Jacinto County Farm Bureau, and the SISD Technology Advisory Committee.