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Showing 321 reactions

commented 2017-04-07 10:52:32 -0700
Senator Whitmire, please put a halt to this madness regarding the raiding of the Houston Firefighter’s pension fund. If any lawmaker in Texas would take the time to research the injustice of SB43/HB 2190 you will find massive amounts of wrongs committed by our City leaders, year after year, Mayor after Mayor, you will find that the Police broke pay parity with the firefighters years ago and benefited from huge raises while the firefighters said ok, we can help the city by doing our best with much less. A fire cadet makes $28,000, a police cadet makes a range of $42,000 to over $46,000. Our pension has bailed the City our numerous times with not a thank you spoken. My disgust lies in the manner in which our Current Mayor has negotiated his reform. It is clear he owes the police and municipal a LOT more than firefighters. He spent behind doors negotiations with them, our behind doors negotiations amounted to threats and he has kept his word on those threats. He has changed the original terms sheets with firefighters without our pension approval, he placed a gag order on them along with a threat that if you talk publically I will hurt the firefighters worse. Is this how our State and city conduct business that affects the wages and benefits earned by Civil and public servants?. The police don’t object because they have their massive raises and our citizens and firefighters will pay the price. This reform has and will continue to have well trained, seasoned firefighters, EMTs and Paramedics walking out the door. The exodus has begun. When this session is over and our state lawmakers have deemed that firefighters are not worthy of what they have given up, sacrificed and earned over the course of their career my hope is that you, your family, loved ones and our citizens are not in need of emergency care or fire services as Houston will be under staffed, still working with broken equipment and with the knowledge that their current and past sacrifices at work and at home has been acknowledged by our City and State as not being worthy. Firefighters can not bleed anymore than now. The Mayor also wanted to cut spousal benefits and if you give our Mayors this power our spouses and widows and children will one day soon find themselves on the doorstep of our Medicaid and food stamp offices. This is real, firefighters do the impossible each and every day, 24 hours at a time, they are at every medical call, every fire call. And now they are being called upon to possibly carry guns for their own safety. So now we give hem police duties as well. They are always first on the scene and wait until the police lunch hour is over for their arrival so they can go back to their soggy or dried up meal sitting at the station. They see things their eyes never forget, are dying of job related illnesses, or in the line of duty. Their families have suffered the sacrifices of an absent parent, the spouses have taken on the roles of both parents, the children suffer, BUT they are not worthy of descent pay, a pension intact nor a word of protection by our City and State for a job well done. Senator do your job quickly, research the truth, make up your own mind with facts. When you do this you will see that yes there is a problem but it is NOT a firefighter problem and this reform should not hurt them so harshly. When we finally make those responsible accountable for this gross injustice then Texas can again be called the Great State of Texas. Until then we have lost our principals, our truth and our desire to do what is right. I urge you to vote against any bill that will hurt our Houston firefighters pension, call David Keller yourself, ask questions, get involved in seeking the truth. As a lawmaker you must seek the facts on your own and not believe others. You have a responsibility to know first hand the issues and facts. As a constituent in your district I expect this from you and no less. Thank you. Re: HB2190 / SB 43 vote NO
commented 2017-04-06 13:44:47 -0700
commented 2017-04-01 19:29:32 -0700
Dear Senator Whitmire,

As a retired Houston Firefighter, I am asking you to vote NO on Senate Bill 2190 as it stands right now, relating to the public retirement systems of certain municipalities. The City of Houston has made fiscally ill-advised transactions with respect to the funding of municipal employees pension funds and with this bill seeks to minimize the City’s obligations. This bill, however punishes unfairly the Houston Firefighters fund. The Houston Firefighters fund does not face the same fiscal danger that the others do. This fund has consistently had a funded ratio that is not only well above any of the other Houston municipal retirement funds but well above the US national average. Firefighters in Houston have given up pay raises and have paid a higher percentage of their salaries towards their pensions. If this bill is implemented, Firefighters, the men and women who risk their lives daily for our safety, could face up to a 40% reduction in their pensions. They would risk not getting their money that they have diligently put aside for their retirement. Please vote NO on Senate Bill 2190 or House Bill 43.
commented 2017-04-01 19:27:10 -0700
commented 2017-03-28 06:50:11 -0700
Thank you for authoring SB 1338.
commented 2017-03-21 00:27:27 -0700
Thanks for trying to get rid of the vehicle inspection fee process and fee. The process is unnecessary and time consuming and a relic of the past when we had unreliable vehicles and equipment. If the bill fails, then simply cut out the fee. As a matter of fact, the registration fee is even more ridiculous. Get rid of it. Thanks. Why would anyone need to “register” a vehicle more than once upon purchase? Doing it yearly is nothing more than a money grab with no benefit….of course.
followed this page 2017-03-16 08:28:13 -0700
commented 2017-03-16 08:27:36 -0700
I am a retired teacher and am very concerned with the possibility of changes to my TRS pension. Please vote no on SB 1750 and. SB 1751. Teachers dedicate their lives to working tirelessly with children and deserve financial peace of mind when they retire.
commented 2017-03-14 14:38:50 -0700
I am a voter in Texas and one of your constituents, and I am calling to ask you to oppose SB 4, the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill that will be heard on Wednesday.

By diverting scarce law enforcement resources to immigration enforcement, this bill will make Texas less safe.

It will drive victims and witnesses into the shadows, corrode the trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, and waste taxpayer money.

Federal law should be enforced by federal law enforcement, so I respectfully call on you not to support SB 4 or any legislation that diverts local taxes away from local priorities.

Thank you

Jim Falick
followed this page 2017-03-14 07:08:37 -0700
commented 2017-03-12 11:01:39 -0700
PLEASE HELP OUR DEDICATED TEACHERS….DO NOT SUPPORT SB1750 and SB 1751.

My daughter has been teaching emotionally disturbed kids in Austin ISD for 25 years and barely makes enough to live on…….and she has to get support from friends and family to add to her own contributions for necessities for her students. Who are more important workers in our world than our public school teachers!!!

Thanks for your attention.

jc
commented 2017-03-08 21:16:40 -0800
I prefer that we move forward with the changes to the pension as outlined in the recent billl. I do not believe we should vote on matter this in November. It has the approval of all the pension holders and the city officials Every Day we delay implementing the plan our debt grows. Please do what you can to convince Ms Huffman to remove the voting provision and save the taxpayers money.
commented 2017-03-02 13:22:51 -0800
Texas Democratic Women of Harris County’s 2017 Women Making History Awards Luncheon is March 11th at the IBEW hall. If you would like to place an ad or buy a sponsorship, please contact Lenora Pohlman ASAP, as the program goes to the printer this weekend. Regular seats are $40, fullpage ads are $50, and sponsorships are $100 to $250. Order online at http://actblue.com/contribute/page/tdwharrisluncheon2017.
commented 2017-03-01 08:56:07 -0800
RE: Oppose SB-1022


From: Brandon M. Wheeler, licensed marriage & family therapist

www.WheelhouseCounseling.com

4115 Lou Anne Ln.

Houston, TX 77092


POSTION: I oppose SB-1022 due to its direct opposition to the Sunset Commission recommendations in the January 2017 report. I support the creation of the Texas Behavioral Executive Council as described in the Sunset Commission report. I believe Marriage and Family Therapists need a fully funded, independent board with the power to make our own rules that govern our profession and rule in ethics complaints regarding the work of Marriage and Family Therapists.


DETAILS: On Friday, Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) filed SB-1022 to move the Texas State Board for Marriage and Family Therapists from the Department of State Health Services and transfer it to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Her bill also includes the transfer of Licensed Professional Counselors, Social Workers, Licensed Chemical Dependency Providers and Sex Offender Treatment Providers.


This would drop each board’s status and transform it into an advisory council with no direct ability to develop rules that govern their professions or handle ethics complaints by peer review.


Senator Nelson’s bill is in opposition of the Sunset Commission Report, which in January, authorized the creation of the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council which will house LMFTs, LPCs, Social Workers, Psychologists, LCDC’s and Sex Offender Treatment Providers.


During Sunset testimony TDLR admitted it is not ready to add regulation of behavioral and mental health providers. TDLR has NO experience in working with mental health professionals which hold graduate degrees. SB-1022 disregards that fact!


SB-1022 disregards the months of work by the Sunset Commission made up of a team of bi-partisan Senators, Representatives, and Public Members who unanimously voted to create the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council.


Each Mental Health Board collaboratively worked hard to help develop the idea of the Behavioral Health Executive Counsel. The Texas Association for Marriage & Family Therapists met with legislators, testified at hearings and rallied our member’s support. Senator Nelson’s bill disregards all of that effort.
commented 2017-02-28 09:56:29 -0800
Sen. Whitmire,


Please reconsider your effort to require a public vote on the Astrodome re-development plans. You obvious strategy is to kill the effort to save the Astrodome because voters would, in all liklihood, vote against spending the money. If you were a New York State Senator, would you initiate legislation aimed at demolishing the Statue of Liberty? It is no different with the Astrodome. Like it or not, the Astrodome is the public symbol of Houston and a major tourist attraction. Thirty-five years ago when I made my first business trip to Houston, I was asked what I wanted to do while I was in town. Without hesitation I said that I would like to see a game in the Astrodome. Last Spring when my son-in-law visited for the first time I asked him the same question that was asked of me. “See the Astrodome,” he said. Roy Hoffheintz will always be revered in Houston as the man who built the Eighth Wonder of the World. Your legacy may well be the man who destroyed it. We elect our public officials to make wise decisions for the benefit of their constituencies. You can’t have a plebiscite on every issue. Maybe you should introduce legislation requiring a vote on continuing State Legislators’ extravagant pension plan. Like you, I am a Democrat, but I can’t help but see this as an ill-advised vendetta against Astrodome preservation champion, Ed Emmet, a Republican, at the expense of the City of Houston. Work on something constructive, not destructive.
commented 2017-02-22 07:40:13 -0800
Senator Whitmire,


As a senior leader in the Texas legislature, I strongly encourage you to use your voice to speak out strongly and publicly in opposition to Senate Bill 6, a bill designed to discriminate against transgender Texans. Now is not the time to be silent as your colleagues attempt to take away the rights of some of our most vulnerable citizens.


Sincerely,


Jessica Wilbanks
commented 2017-02-17 12:07:38 -0800
Dear Senator Whitmire:


Please push to restore the full $5 million appropriation for Cultural & Fine Arts Districts as part of the Texas Commission on the Arts base budget, in Senate Bill 1, Article I.


These resources were approved as part of the Legislative Appropriations Request by both the Legislative Budget Board and the budget analysts in the Governor’s Office, so it was with significant consternation to see them cut in the Senate budget.


These funds were appropriated for the first time in 2015, providing strength and resources to the Commission’s Cultural & Fine Arts District program that was initially established in 2005 with the passing of HB 2208 by Representative Larry Phillips and Senator Judith Zaffarini. Since then, 35 Cultural Districts have been created and approved and are changing the cultural and economic landscape of communities across Texas.


Last year our theatre received a $50,000 marketing grant for marketing and tourism to present our production of All the Way by the Texan Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Schenkkan. The play about Lyndon B. Johnson won the Tony on Broadway and we co-produced it with another major Texas theatre and it played in both cities. The funding was crucial to our being able to market this show using television, which is normally too expensive. The increased marketing allowed us to reach new audiences and produce the largest attendance of any show this past year. We also performed for high school and junior high students. And it was about a period in Texas history that impacted the rest of the country!


The arts bring jobs, they generate significant economic impact in the state, they raise the quality of life for all of our citizens and they serve as one of our strongest beacons for tourism in Texas.


Please vote to restore the Texas Commission on the Arts’ $5 million appropriation for Cultural & Fine Arts Districts, as part of Senate Bill 1, Article I.


Thank you for your service and support.

A Houston Constituent
followed this page 2017-02-16 08:05:21 -0800
commented 2017-02-16 07:57:39 -0800
Honorable Senator Whitmire,


      I am encouraged to see you working on the TRS Care issues, and I have heard that you work diligently for Texas Teachers.   My purpose in writing is to state my concern about  TRS-Care, possible funding, and repercussions of such funding.  I am very proud of my years of service to the families of Texas as a public school teacher.   I am well aware of the importance of your participation and appreciate the time it will take to consider ALL  the ramifications to our TRS-Care coverage.  It is my prayer that TRTA Executive Directors Brian Guthrie and Tim Lee made it clear that we desperately need TRS-Care to continue for Texas Retired Teachers.  Most of us are surviving on a fixed income with NO Social Security.  (It is important to note that many teachers paid into Social Security before/during their teaching careers).   We all paid a percentage of our salaries into the Teacher Retirement Fund and to TRS-CARE during our careers.  When  we were trying to  take care of our families on a teacher’s salary, the percentage made an impact on our budgets, but we knew that we would have something to draw upon later(though not a large amount by any means, when we retired).  We knew too, that we would have to find a way to pay the premiums on our Retiree TRS-CARE and the co-pays. 


    Teachers dedicated their lives to the education  of our children, everyone’s children, a life of service to others, of which I am extremely proud!  However, we should not have to choose between groceries and health care. We are the “little people.”  The school districts and the state can surely revise their budgets to redistribute funds ,making up for the gross shortfall.  They both have ways of increasing their income, while retired teachers do not.  I hope you will share these concerns with your fellow committee members as you put time and effort into considering our financial futures.


I don’t pretend to understand all of the different facets of how this is funded.  I just know that going into teaching, I understood that at least my Teacher Retirement and medical care (to a certain extent ) could be counted on. It is my heartfelt desire that the different committees can find a resolution to this problem by working with the State and the school districts to finance a solution.  


Thank you very much for your important service to ALL Texans.  Here is to your reelection in 2018!

Cecelia Timberlake
commented 2017-02-15 08:46:35 -0800
Senator Whitmire,


I’m contacting you today about the bills before the Texas Senate regarding abortion: State Bills 8, 258, and 415. It is just awful that these bills come before our law makers again and again.

Politicians need to stop playing politics with reproductive health care, shaming women, and interfering in decisions that don’t belong to them.


I am pretty sure that you would not vote for these bills, so I am sending you my support and additional encouragement on that action. Rally the senators! We must keep access to safe medical care and not include policies that perpetuate stigmas.


Thank you for the work you do to represent me and my neighbors.


Karen Yip
commented 2017-02-14 20:30:40 -0800
Why must we continue to battle over restoring our Astrodome to glory, or some sort of usefulness? True it will be expensive, however, we continue to spend $billions on public pensions and the health, incarceration, and education of illegals. Don’t forget about those of us that are from here, and continue to fund and support this county and everything it is and was.
followed this page 2017-02-13 10:55:30 -0800
commented 2017-02-13 10:06:54 -0800
Senator Whitmire -


Thank you for your proposed bill to require Harris County voters to approve Judge Emmet’s ill-thought plan for the Astrodome. It is truly absurd that we would use taxpayer money to build a glorified parking lot that ultimately benefits a multi-billion dollar corporation (the NFL), when we have a gaping hole in our pension program, under-funded schools, and already high property taxes.


The average citizen cannot afford to bring their family to an NFL game, much less pay for a fancy parking lot. The bill for any improvements to the NRG / Astrodome complex need to be footed by those who use the venues. Tear down the Astrodome already and get taxpayers out of this business.


Regards,

Tom Steiner

Harris County Taxpayer and Resident
commented 2017-02-11 21:52:47 -0800
Senator Whitmire. I’d like to tell you that in the event that you manage to get the Houston Astrodome torn down I will make it my mission in life to vote against you in every election you participate in for as long as I live.
commented 2017-02-11 18:44:10 -0800
Claira Fortune 3503 Prudence Street Houston, Texas 77045

Date: February 11,2017


Senator John Whitmire , 803 Yale St, Houston, TX 77007 P.O. Box 12068 Austin, TX 78711


Most Honorable Senator John Whitmire,

My name is Claira, and I beg your indulgence to my hearts plea for immediate assistance concerning my son Donald Fairweather #02106472 whom is housed at the Lopez Unit Edinburg 1203 El Cibolo Road, Edinburg, Texas 78542. And please understand that my disability hinders my ability to at the least lay my eyes upon my son when GOD allows my health to permit me to travel. I have documentations to offer you concerning my health conditions which is my heart for I have a pacemaker, as well as my need for dialysis treatment.

Therefore, I request if you please, would you send my son closer to Houston, Texas so that at times when I’m able I may at least see him. Though I’m seasoned by time and my travels to him would be brief, yet it would console my hearts fear concerning him. Even now word has come to me that he may be contemplating suicide, and my heart yearns to do all I can for him because he is now the only son that I have left.

So I most humbly plea for your kind assistance as well as intervention on our behalves and show us mercy and bring him closer to his home. Be it understood that I know his mistakes deserve the punishment allocated to him, yet it would do my heart good to know that I could at least see his face from time to time and show him my love as long as I can.

Sincerely and Respectfully Requesting Your Assistance,

Claira Fortune
commented 2017-02-11 14:39:29 -0800
Senator John Whitmire, Thank you for introducing legislation that will require a referendum for spending $105 million on the astrodome. Judge Emmett and the other astrodome huggers need to let it go.
followed this page 2017-02-11 10:06:41 -0800
commented 2017-02-11 10:06:21 -0800
Bravo on you proposed Astrodome bill. Spending $104M on the Astrodome for 1,400 parking spaces is ridiculous. It’s like putting lipstick on a pig. We already have facilities for conventions and activities in Houston (George R Brown, Discovery Green, numerous brand new hotels, NRG) no amount of money will enable the Astrodome to compete with these facilities. Count on my vote for you bill.
commented 2017-02-11 07:53:30 -0800
I just read about your proposed legislation to let the Harris County voters have a say in the Astrodome; Bravo and thanks!
commented 2017-02-11 06:15:07 -0800
Mr. Whitmire, tear down that Astrodome. Voters of Harris County approved the demolition. Harris County officials have been stalling and just carrying this matter on for much too long. The Astrodome’s time has passed. It needs to go. The vast majority of us want it gone ASAP.
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