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Representative Martinez has passed 200 pieces of legislation in nine legislative sessions, focusing on legislation that brings common-sense, bipartisan solutions and funding to the Rio Grande Valley and the State of Texas. These are some key pieces of legislation that Rep. Martinez has authored, sponsored, or supported while in office.

– Legislative Successes –

Education 

  • S.B. 24 (2013) officially created The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) by merging UT-Brownsville and UT-Pan American and establishing a new medical school.
  • H.B. 3 (2019) added $6.5 billion to public education funding, known as the historic school finance reform bill.
  • H.B. 18 (2019) enhances school safety programs and expands mental health training for school employees.
  • S.B. 12 (2019) increased the state, required district, and active public school employees' pension contributions and provided a one-time additional payment to all Teacher Retirement System of Texas retirees.
  • S.B. 776 (2021) creates an inclusive UIL sports program for students with special needs.

Business & Economic Development 

  • S.B. 446 (2005) ensures that consumers receive the full value of an expired gift card and protects consumers from any monthly inactivity charges.
  • S.B. 611 (2007) provides consumers increased access to residential property and personal automobile insurance information by requiring the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) to establish and maintain a centralized website.
  • H.B. 2772 (2015) authorizes certain economic development corporations to undertake and operate transportation-related projects that support manufacturing and industrial development in the Rio Grande Valley.
  • S.B. 1749 (2015) expands the Texas Citrus Pest and Disease Management Corporation and requires that actual citrus producers be elected to serve on the Board of Directors.
  • S.B. 1459 (2017) offers an agriculture tax exemption to South Texas landowners who destroy, remove, or treat citrus trees in a pest management zone.

Emergency Preparedness & Response

  • H.B. 233 (2005) allows local police to accompany ambulances responding to a crime or accident scene outside their municipality so that victims can receive immediate care while law enforcement clearance and jurisdiction determination are ongoing.
  • S.B. 1043 (2011) aims to prevent wildfires by criminally penalizing those who ignite a fire by illegally discarding a burning cigarette or match onto open-space land, private roads, public highways, and right-of-ways.
  • H.B. 2447 (2013) tightens licensing and compliance standards for firms selling portable fire extinguishers.
  • S.B. 396 (2013) specifies that surviving family members of essential DPS support personnel would be eligible for the same line-of-duty death benefits as other eligible DPS personnel.
  • S.B. 1899 (2015) gives hospitals and urgent care facilities the option of allowing paramedics to use their skill set in emergency rooms and urgent care clinics if approved by the physician and the facility.

Military Personnel & Veterans Service

  • H.B. 1260 (2007) exempts certain military personnel deployed to serve in a hostile fire zone from specific state and local government fees to ease the burden created by the short preparation period.

  • S.B. 297 (2009) expands in-state tuition benefits at public higher education institutions for veterans and service members and their spouses and children.

  • H.B. 2424 (2013) designates part of U.S. Highway 83 in Hidalgo and Cameron Counties as a portion of the national Purple Heart Trail.

  • H.B. 441 (2017) prohibits Texas schools from offering instruction on Memorial Day in honor of the sacrifices of military personnel.

  • H.B. 2643 (2019) updates language relating to the issuance of specialty license plates for recipients of the Combat Action Badge or Combat Infantryman Badge.

  • S.B. 623 (2021) established a state sexual offense prevention and response program for the Texas Military Department known as the Vanessa Guillen Act.

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Criminal Justice & Labor Protections 

  • H.B. 1988 (2007) authorizes a victim of a sexual or aggravated sexual assault offense to obtain a lifetime protective order against the offender who victimized the individual.
  • S.B. 1627 (2007) standardizes the prosecution of workers' compensation insurance fraud so that punishment severity is dependent on the value of the claim.
  • S.B. 1575 (2009) requires all civil and criminal cases in the Hidalgo County district courts be randomly assigned and docketed to maintain efficiency and judicial integrity.
  • S.B. 24 (2011) enacts legislative changes to the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force Report to help prosecutors try human trafficking cases, provide protections for victims, and improve cooperation between state agencies, law enforcement officers, legal professionals, and health care and service providers.
  • H.B. 88 (2017) compels employers to administer inclusive leave policies allowing employees to care for a foster child.
  • H.B. 1505 (2019) improves driving records maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS); the bill establishes a criminal offense for transporting household goods without registration and requires a court to notify DPS of convictions under the Household Goods Mover statute.
  • H.B. 1828 (2019) allows Texas Game Wardens to enforce harsher criminal penalties for harvesting illegal aquatic products to deter selling or purchasing fish caught illegally.
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Transportation

  • H.B. 2510 (2007) authorizes the creation of a commuter rail district to provide commuter rail service to counties along the Texas-Mexico border and for the adoption of rules necessary for the operation of such a district.
  • S.B. 510 (2013) provides uniformed highway safety protections for operators of Texas Department of Transportation vehicles, authorized emergency vehicles, and tow trucks.
  • S.B. 2227 (2017) allows the Hidalgo County regional mobility authority (RMA) to assess an increased permit fee for commercial trucks seeking passage to oversized-overweight vehicle corridors.
  • H.B. 71 (2019) creates a regional transit authority among Hidalgo, Cameron, and Willacy counties to provide a united, comprehensive effort to develop and sustain regional public transit services in the area.
  • S.B. 1814 (2021) removes outdated oversize and overweight permit bond requirements from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV).
  • S.B. 1907 (2021) requires the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to consult with the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Department of Public Safety to conduct a study on whether colocated federal and state inspection facilities at Texas ports of entry would cut down border wait times for commercial vehicles and improve efficient cross-border trade.

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Health Care & Family Services

  • H.B. 1169 (2009) extends grant funding for establishing new federally-qualified health centers and expands the life-saving health services offered at existing facilities. 

  • S.B. 98 (2009) established a health science center and medical school in South Texas, known today as the UTRGV School of Medicine.

  • S.B. 187 (2009) creates the Medicaid Buy-In Program for children so that working families can provide much-needed care for their special-needs children without going bankrupt.

  • S.B. 17 (2017) extends the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force and directs the Health and Human Services Commission to evaluate and address causes of maternal death, including options for treating postpartum depression and improving maternal health.

  • H.B. 125 (2019) prohibits licensing agencies from including professional mental health practitioners' home addresses on publicly available databases. 

  • H.B. 2514 (2019) allows courts to appoint a qualified individual to perform child custody evaluations in counties with a shortage of professionals who meet statutory qualifications. 

Infrastructure Improvements

  • H.B. 2374 (2009) provides financial assistance options to residencies in economically distressed areas for first-time connection costs to public water supply and sanitary sewer services.
  • H.B. 3002 (2015) establishes street lighting in colonias by providing counties with an effective fee collection method.
  • H.B. 3220 (2015) establishes provisions relating to the Hidalgo County Water Control and Improvement District No. 18 to provide specific improvements, projects, and services for public use and benefit.
  • H.B. 1542 (2019) provides consistency between design-build procurement statutes to ensure that the design-build team presented by the contractor stays the same throughout the project.
  • H.B. 5 (2021) creates a statewide broadband plan to ensure all Texans access reliable internet.
  • H.B. 4663 (2021) allows Hidalgo County Drainage District Number 1 to adopt innovative funding solutions for flood infrastructure improvements without raising taxes for Hidalgo County residents.