FEBRUARY 9, 2013 | AUSTIN-AMERICAN STATESMAN
FEBRUARY 7, 2013 | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rep. Donna Howard Files Legislation To Strengthen
Financial Disclosure Laws
Measure would enhance filing requirements; require comprehensive interim review
AUSTIN - State Representative Donna Howard today filed legislation to strengthen personal financial disclosure requirements for legislators, candidates, and other officials subject to the state’s disclosure laws. House Bill 1074 would require all sources of earned and unearned income to be reported. Current law requires filers to report occupational income, but not unearned income such as pensions or retirement plans. In addition, the bill clarifies that filers are required to list the source and type of income for a spouse and dependent child.
"This bill addresses concerns about potential gaps in reporting requirements with the goal of strengthening public confidence in state government and its officers," Howard said.
Howard’s legislation also would ensure that reports are readily accessible to the public by requiring the Texas Ethics Commission to post the records online.
"Texans should not have to rely on the media or other sources to gather and post information that, by the law's intent, is designed to be available to the public," Howard added.
To address further issues of concern, HB 1074 also establishes a select interim committee to undertake a comprehensive review of personal financial disclosure laws. The committee would be comprised of four legislators; two representatives of open government advocacy organizations; two members of organizations representing professional media; two members of the public; and one member of the Texas Ethics Commission, who would serve as chairman.
"It has been two decades since the last comprehensive review of these disclosure requirements has been undertaken," Howard said. "The role of this interim committee will be to review state law to ensure that state officials continue to meet the highest ethical standards, that the goal of meaningful disclosure is achieved, and that our government continues to operate with transparency."
FEBRUARY 4, 2013 | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Following Judge's Ruling, Rep. Donna Howard Calls For Restoration of Public Education Funding and Programs
AUSTIN - Representative Donna Howard released the following statement regarding District Judge John Dietz's ruling in the school finance trial:
“Today's ruling makes it clear that the Legislature has failed to meet the funding obligations of our public school system. Our Independent School Districts have consistently been asked to do more with less, never more so than with the $5.4 billion cut to public education in our current budget.
"As we await the inevitable appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, lawmakers should act now to begin addressing some of Judge Dietz's concerns. We can reinstitute programs that are known to improve student outcomes, such as full-day Pre-K and the Student Success Initiative, and restore funding levels to amounts that were in place before last session's cuts.
“"Our children’s education should not be placed on hold while the Legislature waits for instruction from the courts. We have the ability—and the responsibility—to make the current funding system adequate and more equitable by restoring cuts now while also laying the groundwork for a permanent solution."
Rep. Donna Howard stopped by the studio to talk about her goals for the upcoming legislative session, including higher education growth. She also addressed the cuts in education from the previous session.
“One of the things I am particularly focused on in higher ed. has to do with tuition assistance,” Rep. Howard said. “We cut that at the very time that we are expecting more Texans to go through higher education.”
JANUARY 31, 2013 | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rep. Donna Howard Named To Appropriations, Higher Education Committees
AUSTIN - Rep. Donna Howard issued the following statement regarding the announcement of committee assignments in the Texas House of Representatives:
"I am grateful to Speaker Straus for appointing me to the House Appropriations Committee, and I look forward to supporting his goals of properly and transparently funding government's core responsibilities while meeting the challenges of robust population growth.
"I intend to be an effective advocate on the committee for restoring funds to public education and family planning programs that were so dramatically cut last session.
"I am pleased to be serving on the Higher Education Committee for a fourth session. Texans expect us to continue making strides in areas of diversity, affordability, completion rates, and career-readiness.
"Our state's position as an economic leader depends on a well-educated workforce. We must ensure that our diverse population is prepared to meet tomorrow's challenges.
"Sixty-five percent of jobs in the U.S. will require some level of postsecondary education by 2020; I look forward to working with Chairman Dan Branch on innovative ways to meet this demand."
Rep. Howard also continues her service as Vice-Chair of the House Administration Committee. She has previously served on the Technology Committee, and as Vice-Chair of the Culture, Recreation, & Tourism Committee.
JANUARY 23, 2013 | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rep. Donna Howard Legislation Ensures Access to Economic Stabilization Fund for State's Infrastructure Needs
AUSTIN - Today, State Representative Donna Howard filed House Bill 652, which ensures that the needed infrastructure funding touted by the state's leadership will not hit a technical snag. HB 652 clarifies the original intent of the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF) and restates in statute that appropriations from the ESF are not counted against the state's spending cap.
"This bill will clarify the intent of the ESF; namely, the constitutionally created ESF is a 'special fund' dedicated toward offsetting revenue shortfalls and, therefore, does not fall within the definition of funds to be counted toward the spending limit, i.e. ‘state tax revenues not dedicated by the constitution,’" Howard said.
"This allows the legislature to actually appropriate monies from this fund as originally intended within the constitutional constraints imposed on such appropriations by voting thresholds specified in the constitution.”
The Texas Constitution requires that certain funds be moved from the General Revenue Fund into the Economic Stabilization Fund, which was constitutionally created in 1988. By restating in statute that the ESF is a "constitutionally dedicated fund," HB 652 would ensure that proposals such as those listed as priorities by Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst — including water and transportation infrastructure — are able to occur without restricting the appropriations of the General Revenue Fund.
JANUARY 3, 2013 | AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN
JANUARY 4, 2013 | KUT NEWS
Rep. Howard is please to have received the following endorsements for the 2012 General Election
"Howard is an effective legislator with an ability to bring Republicans to her side. Her background and experience in nursing and education make her a strong voice on health care, public schools and higher education. In previous sessions, she has offered practical solutions to school funding and medical care. Voters should reward her common-sense legislative approach with another term."
- Austin American-Statesman 10/24/2012
Texas Parent PAC
Texas State Teachers Association
Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT)
Texas Public Employees Association
Texas Association of Realtors
Austin Board of Realtors
Texas Retailers Association
Texas Nurses Association
Texas Medical Association
Texas Hospital Association
Friends of the University PAC
Texas Freedom Network
Sierra Club – Lone Star Chapter
Texas League of Conservation Voters
Clean Water Action
National Association of Social Workers - Texas Chapter
Homebuilders Association of Greater Austin
Texas Apartment Association
Austin Apartment Association
Texas Farm Bureau AGFUND
Texas Library Association