Rep. Isaac Passes Amendment to Stop Welfare Fraud

AUSTIN — Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) successfully amended the Texas House of Representatives’ budget bill to require an audit of potential fraud, waste, and abuse in the welfare system.

“Funds that are intended to help the least among us get back on their feet should be spent for that purpose and that purpose only,” said Rep. Isaac Thursday during budget negotiations. “With over 4 million Medicaid recipients and 3.8 million food stamp recipients in Texas, many of whom overlap, even a small percentage of errors result in an unacceptable waste of taxpayer dollars.”

Rep. Isaac called attention to data pictured below depicting Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program funds spent out-of-state — just one potential form of fraud, waste, and abuse. However, at this time there is no way to know the full extent. Though the Health and Human Services Commission screens welfare recipients for eligibility at the time they apply, there is not a uniform effort to ensure continued eligibility after enrollment.

The amendment directs the Health and Human Services Commission to conduct a study cross-referencing welfare recipients with death records, enrollment in other states-administered programs, lottery winnings, out-of-state spending, employment records, and other factors.

“The people of Texas have entrusted us with their tax dollars — dollars that they work hard to earn — we should treat that trust with the utmost respect,” Rep. Isaac continued.

Rep. Isaac is a fourth-generation native Texan who has served House District 45 since 2011. He is the vice president of the Texas Conservative Coalition, the conservative caucus in the Texas Legislature, and founding chair of the Hill Country Caucus. He is proud to represent Hays and Blanco counties and lives in Drippings Springs with his wife, Carrie, and two sons.

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AUSTIN — In response to disturbing reports about wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars within the agency, Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) successfully passed an amendment banning out-of-state travel by employees of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
“The tax dollars you and I work so hard for should be spent responsibly, and TABC’s recent actions are extremely concerning,” said Rep. Isaac Thursday. “They should not go towards pricey trips to alcohol industry conferences that sound more like parties than meetings.”

A recent report in the Texas Tribune shone a light on disturbing practices within TABC, including the expenditure of tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on trips to Hawaii, San Diego, Atlantic City, and other out-of-state locations. In addition to travel expenses, taxpayer dollars were used to pay for open bars, mariachi bands, and square dancers.

Rep. Isaac’s amendment, coauthored by Rep. Ramon Romero, Jr. (D-Fort Worth) was the only amendment approved for House Bill 2, the supplemental appropriations bill.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature to continue ensuring transparency and responsible use of our taxpayer dollars,” Rep. Isaac continued. “The people of Texas deserve better.”

Rep. Isaac is a fourth-generation native Texan who has served House District 45 since 2011. He is the vice president of the Texas Conservative Coalition, the conservative caucus in the Texas Legislature, and founding chair of the Hill Country Caucus. He is proud to represent Hays and Blanco counties and lives in Drippings Springs with his wife, Carrie, and two sons.

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AUSTIN — Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) is alerting citizens of Hays and Blanco counties of a public hearing on House Bill 4122 at the Capitol Wednesday.

“HB 4122 would undo the protections put in place by the Save Our Wells bill we fought for in 2015,” said Rep. Isaac. “I want to make sure everyone who depends on wells for their livelihood is aware of this deeply concerning legislation.”

HB 4122 would allow a landowner with over 1,000 acres in two or more groundwater conservation districts to choose the groundwater conservation district they prefer to be in. This effectively allows the landowner to select whichever district has more lenient pumping requirements — eliminating any protections for surrounding landowners’ rights to their groundwater.

This is particularly concerning because much of Hays County and all of Blanco County are in a priority groundwater management area, which, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, is “experiencing, or expected to experience, critical groundwater problems.” Worse, the bill could create a vehicle for one landowner to create their own district with complete disregard for surrounding wells.

The House Committee on Natural Resources will hold a public hearing to discuss the bill on Wednesday, April 5, at 10:30 a.m. or upon adjournment in room E2.010.

“House District 45 sent a strong message last session that we will fight for our rights and our water,” Rep. Isaac continued. “Unfortunately, the Hays County water wars are continuing. We’re going to have to fight for those rights one more time.”

Rep. Isaac is a fourth-generation native Texan who has served House District 45 since 2011. He is the vice president of the Texas Conservative Coalition, the conservative caucus in the Texas Legislature, and founding chair of the Hill Country Caucus. He is proud to represent Hays and Blanco counties and lives in Drippings Springs with his wife, Carrie, and two sons.

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AUSTIN — A handful of members of the Texas Legislature have filed bills aimed at undoing the protections put in place by the Save Our Wells bill, authored and passed by Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) with overwhelming community support in 2015.

“I’m incredibly disappointed that a few of my colleagues are playing games with the citizens of Hays County and attempting to undo the important groundwater protections that were passed last session for their own political gain,” Rep. Isaac said Tuesday.

The “Save Our Wells bill” placed unprotected land in Hays County within the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District in an effort to safeguard local wells. This legislation protects private property rights by ensuring landowners rights to their water — as long as it doesn’t put their neighbors’ wells in jeopardy.

“The people of Hays County have made it clear that keeping the groundwater we depend on plentiful and affordable is of the utmost importance,” Rep. Isaac continued. “I will fight vehemently any attempts to undo the protections that were put in place last session as I work to protect the people I serve.”

Rep. Isaac is a fourth-generation native Texan who has served House District 45 since 2011. He is the vice president of the Texas Conservative Coalition, the conservative caucus in the Texas Legislature, and founding chair of the Hill Country Caucus. He is proud to represent Hays and Blanco counties and lives in Drippings Springs with his wife, Carrie, and two sons.

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AUSTIN — Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) has filed House Bill 2400 to abolish Daylight Saving Time.

“Imagine that it’s 2017 and lawmakers have for the first time proposed arbitrarily changing our clocks twice a year. They would be publicly ridiculed!” Rep. Isaac stated. “The fact is, Daylight Saving Time is an antiquated regulation that no longer serves our state’s needs.”

Numerous studies have suggested that Daylight Saving Time changes lead to an increase in car accidents and heart attacks. This is in addition to lost productivity due to sleep cycle disruptions causing fatigue, decreased alertness, decreased motivation, and tardiness.

“Daylight Saving Time has become an annoyance at best and a burden to our state at worst,” Rep. Isaac continued.

“In Texas, all state agencies go through a ‘sunset review’ process in which they have to prove their worth to the taxpayers who fund them — or be abolished. Outdated regulations should have to do the same. It’s time to let the sun set on Daylight Saving Time.”

Rep. Isaac is a fourth-generation native Texan who has served House District 45 since 2011. He is the vice president of the Texas Conservative Coalition, the conservative caucus in the Texas Legislature, and founding chair of the Hill Country Caucus. He is proud to represent Hays and Blanco counties and lives in Drippings Springs with his wife, Carrie, and two sons.

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AUSTIN — Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) has filed legislation aimed at stopping inappropriate relationships between teachers and students in Texas public schools.

“Our state is blessed to be home to so many truly talented and dedicated educators,” Rep. Isaac said. “However, we haven’t done enough to keep the few bad apples from taking advantage of our children.”

Reps. Isaac and Tony Dale (R-Cedar Park) have previously called attention to the practice known as “passing the trash,” where teachers who resign instead of being fired for engaging in inappropriate relationships with children are allowed to keep their teaching certificate. When this happens, they can find jobs in other school districts and continue preying on the students.

Governor Greg Abbott addressed “passing the trash” at length in his State of the State address and called for legislation to revoke licenses of teachers who assault children and send them to jail.

Rep. Isaac filed House Bill 1403 and Rep. Dale filed HB 218, both of which strengthen prohibitions against relationships between educators and students.

“I’m thankful that our children’s safety in schools — where all they should have to focus on is learning — is a priority for our state’s leadership,” Rep. Isaac continued. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and the Senate to keep sexual predators out of our schools.”

Representing Blanco and Hays counties, Rep. Isaac has served House District 45 in the Texas Legislature since 2011. He is a member of the Economic and Small Business Development, Environmental Regulation, and Local and Consent Calendars committees and is chair of the Subcommittee on Small Business. He lives in Drippings Springs with his wife, Carrie, and two sons, who attend public schools.

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Rep. Isaac Unveils the Teaching Over Testing Act

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AUSTIN — Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) today announced the filing of the Teaching Over Testing Act, a bill designed to radically reduce the impact of standardized testing on Texas’ students, educators, and taxpayers.

“Texas is a diverse state, but if there’s anything people from Amarillo to Brownsville and El Paso to Beaumont and people from both political parties can agree on, it’s that STAAR is a disservice to the students we will one day rely on as our next generation of leaders.”

House Bill 1333, dubbed the Teaching Over Testing Act, aims to move the focus in public education away from standardized testing and back to the classroom through four critical reforms:

  1. Allowing school districts to select alternative test providers
  2. Reducing the number of tests
  3. Removing STAAR scores from teacher evaluations
  4. Reducing the weight of STAAR scores in A-F ratings

The bill has already received bipartisan support from all across the Lone Star State and has been joint-authored so far by Reps. Rodney Anderson (R-Grand Prairie), Joe Deshotel (D-Beaumont), and Gary VanDeaver (R-New Boston).

“I’m thrilled by the bipartisan support this legislation is receiving,” Rep. Isaac continued. “It’s time we shift the focus of public education away from standardized testing and back to the classroom where it belongs.”

A one-pager explaining HB 1333 in more detail is available here. You can view the press conference in full by clicking the video below.

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Representing Blanco and Hays counties, Rep. Isaac has served House District 45 in the Texas Legislature since 2011. He is a member of the Economic and Small Business Development, Environmental Regulation, and Local and Consent Calendars committees and is chair of the Subcommittee on Small Business. He lives in Drippings Springs with his wife, Carrie, and two sons.

 

Rep. Isaac Signs Pledge with Texans

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AUSTIN — Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) participated in a press conference announcing the Texas Conservative Coalition’s Pledge with Texans, a six-point pledge to support and vote for conservative values during the 85th Legislative Session.

The six core principles of the Pledge with Texans are:

  • Protecting constitutional rights;
  • Advancing economic freedom by reducing barriers for first-time employers and job seekers;
  • Promoting government reform, accountability, and fiscal responsibility;
  • Encouraging job creation through tax reform, reduction, and elimination;
  • Improving education; and
  • Working to strengthen border security and stem illegal immigration.

“Each legislative session, our caucus makes a commitment to the people of Texas to promote and pass legislation advancing the values that so many Texans hold dear — values that protect families and ensure limited government, individual liberty and free enterprise,” said TCC’s president, Representative James Frank (R-Wichita Falls). “Working together, TCC will continue to identify opportunities to pass conservative legislation into law and we look forward to significant progress on every item within this year’s Pledge with Texans.”

“I’m thrilled to see so many representatives joining together to fight for conservative values and a bright future for the State of Texas,” added Rep. Isaac, who serves as TCC’s vice president. “The 84th Legislative Session was called the most conservative in recent memory. But make no mistake, there’s more to come in the 85th. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues to fulfill our Pledge with Texans.”

TCC is the conservative caucus of the Texas Legislature. Since its founding in 1985, TCC’s mission has been to promote and defend limited government, individual liberty, free enterprise, and traditional values — a platform that has for decades given a voice to grassroots activists, claimed countless conservative victories across the State of Texas, and supported elected officials as they pursue conservative action.

To learn more about TCC and its Pledge with Texans, click here.

Representing Blanco and Hays counties, Rep. Isaac has served House District 45 in the Texas Legislature since 2011. He is a member of the Economic and Small Business Development, Environmental Regulation, and Local and Consent Calendars committees and is chair of the Subcommittee on Small Business. He lives in Drippings Springs with his wife, Carrie, and two sons.

 

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AUSTIN — Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) joined Texas state legislators in calling on the federal government to reimburse the State of Texas for $2.8 billion in costs resulting from Washington’s failure to secure the border.

“The federal government has turned a blind eye to the dangers along our border for too long,” Rep. Isaac said Wednesday. “The financial burden for this willful dereliction of duty is falling on Texans — hardworking families who don’t deserve to have their tax dollars wasted — and that’s simply unacceptable.”

Rep. Isaac and many House members asked the federal government to reimburse the State of Texas for taxpayer dollars spent on border security initiatives.

Since January 2013, the State of Texas and local governments have been forced to spend $2.8 billion as a result of the federal government’s failure to secure the border.

Representing Blanco and Hays counties, Rep. Isaac has served House District 45 in the Texas Legislature since 2011. He is a member of the Economic and Small Business Development, Environmental Regulation, and Local and Consent Calendars committees and is chair of the Subcommittee on Small Business. He lives in Drippings Springs with his wife, Carrie, and two sons.

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Rep. Isaac’s STAAR Proposal Gains Momentum

Austin — Last week, Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) proposed fundamental reform to Texas’ standardized testing system: allowing school districts to select any nationally normed standardized test that meets Texas curriculum standards instead of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR).

“I’ve been so pleased with the overwhelmingly positive feedback I’ve heard not only from the district I serve, but also from people all across the State of Texas,” Rep. Isaac said Wednesday. “It’s become increasingly clear that top-down, one-size-fits-none testing doesn’t work for our schools or for our students.

“It’s time to put the ‘independent’ back in ‘independent school district’ and allow free-market principles to decrease costs and increase quality in standardized tests. It’s the least we can do to support our hard-working students and their families in light of the appalling errors they were forced to put up with during the last administration of STAAR.”

Potential bill language is still being finalized, but Rep. Isaac stated that his legislation will clearly state that eligible tests must be nationally normed and comply with Texas’ curriculum standards, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

The bill would also call on the Texas Education Agency to request a waiver from the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the successor of No Child Left Behind. ESSA is the source of many of the inflexible testing regulations school districts are held to. Specifically, ESSA requires identical statewide exams for elementary and middle schools — but not high schools.

“The Texas state of mind has always favored local control,” Rep. Isaac continued. “No Child Left Behind and ESSA have failed our students. It’s time for the Lone Star State to push back at the federal government’s heavy-handed regulations and allow our locally elected school board members the autonomy to select the test provider that best meets their schools’ and students’ needs.”

Throughout his time in the Texas Capitol, Rep. Isaac has authored and supported a number of bills aimed at reducing federal and state mandates that burden our schools, including House Bill 462, which prohibited the State of Texas from implementing Common Core, and House Bill 743, which aimed to limit the amount of time students spend on standardized tests.

Several legislators have indicated their interest in supporting Rep. Isaac’s new proposal, which Rep. Isaac plans to file when the 85th Legislative Session convenes in January.

Representing Blanco and Hays counties, Rep. Isaac has served House District 45 in the Texas Legislature since 2011. He is a member of the Economic and Small Business Development, Environmental Regulation, and Local and Consent Calendars committees and is chair of the Subcommittee on Small Business. He lives in Drippings Springs with his wife, Carrie, and two sons who attend public schools.