REAL RESULTS, NOT EMPTY RHETORIC
Dr. Stucky believes that we have a moral obligation to leave our state and nation in a better place than we found it for the sake of our children and generations to come. Our time on earth is short, and the legacy we leave behind should only be of the highest caliber.
In his first two sessions in the Texas House, he went to work every day with a steadfast commitment to that ideal, and as a result he helped pass meaningful legislation to provide property tax relief, secure the border, protect innocent life, shore up healthcare for retired teachers, defend the 2nd Amendment, and support our local public schools, among others.
He was also named the Most Valuable Freshman in 2017 by "Capitol Inside", which has been covering state government for the past two decades, for passing 63% of the legislation he authored - the highest passage rate of any member in the House of Representatives. Dr. Stucky built on that success in 2019 by passing 73% of his legislation while serving as the Vice-Chair of the Higher Education Committee and sitting on the budget-writing Appropriations Committee.
- Conservative Budgets
The 2017-2019 state budget passed the House on the second to last day of the legislative session by a vote of 135 to 14. It was a balanced budget, and one of the most fiscally responsible, conservative budgets in the state's history.
During the 86th Legislative Session, Dr. Stucky served on the Appropriations Committee where he helped draft the 2019-2021 state budget. After accounting for $5 billion in property tax relief, the budget stayed under the rate of population plus inflation and stayed under all four constitutional spending limits.
- Tax Relief & Reform
In 2019, Dr. Stucky co-authored House Bill 3 which provides almost $5 billion in property tax relief to homeowners and property owners across the state. It increases the state's share of education funding in order to buy down school district property taxes, mandates ongoing reductions in school property tax rates, and requires districts to conduct efficiency audits to ensure taxpayer dollars are being used responsibly.
Additionally, he co-sponsored Senate Bill 2 which reforms the property tax system to make it more transparent. It provides real-time tax information to inform property owners who is proposing to raise their rates, by how much, and when and where they can go to protest. Additionally, it lowers the voter approval rate to 3.5% for most taxing units, triggering an automatic election for voters to approve the increase when it exceeds the voter approval rate.
- Border Security
Dr. Stucky promised to make border security a top priority, and true to his word, he was a co-sponsor on Senate Bill 4 in 2017, which effectively banned sanctuary cities in Texas. This legislation prohibits a local government entity or campus police department from adopting policies that limit the enforcement of immigration law, including stopping a peace officer from inquiring about a detained or arrested person’s immigration status. This new law will assist federal immigration enforcement by ensuring that local officials are cooperative with their efforts.
Additionally, the 2017-2019 state budget funded border security to the tune of $800 million and included 250 new DPS troopers to expand operations along the Texas-Mexico border, and increases troopers statewide to a 50-hour work week.
The 2019-2021 budget maintains the levels of funding for border security, while devoting $27.8 million for human and child sex trafficking investigative squads, anti-gang squads, and regional human trafficking investigative squads at the Department of Public Safety. $5.5 million more is set aside for anti-human trafficking enforcement at the T.A.B.C., and $3.4 million for the expansion of the Human Trafficking Prevention section at the Office of the Attorney General.
- Public Education
As a former school board president, Dr. Stucky knows first-hand that the worst form of education imaginable is a top-down approach, so he went to Austin to ensure our schools were adequately funded and then to fight for decisions about those funds to be made at the local level.
In 2019, House Bill 3 devoted $4.5 billion to education reforms, $2 billion for dynamic teacher pay raises, and will reduce "Robin Hood" recapture by $3.6 billion.
Furthermore, Dr. Stucky co-authored House Bill 21 in the 85th legislature's special session which created a Texas Commission on Public School Finance. This is the first step towards finally ending the Robin Hood school finance system entirely and changing the way public schools are funded. Property owners have shouldered far too much of the cost for far too long, and it's time to create a more equitable system.
One of Governor Abbott's highest priorities in 2017, high-quality pre-kindergarten, received $236 million in funding during Dr. Stucky's first session in the legislature. And another top priority of Governor Abbott in 2019, school safety, resulted in legislation which will add security personnel, make building security upgrades, and implement new technologies to better protect Texas school children.
Additionally, the legislature has helped shore up the health care system for retired teachers. During the 85th regular session of the legislature, $350 million was earmarked in the budget to increase the contribution rate and address the shortfall in TRS-Care. In the 2017 special session, another $212 million was added to further buy down premiums, and in 2019, $589 million more was allocated to provide retired teachers with a "13th check".
Dr. Stucky was a co-author of this legislation and believes it is critical that we live up to the promises we have made to our retired teachers.
- Higher Education
As Vice-Chair of the Higher Education Committee in 2019, Dr. Stucky helped move bills through the legislature which will lower the cost of textbooks, create a more seamless process for transferring credits between schools, and empower and support victims of sexual assault on campuses across the state.
Denton County will see further higher education investment with $10 million allocated for the Center for Agile and Adaptive Additive Manufacturing (CAAAM) at the University of North Texas, and $10 million more for the Center for Women’s Leadership on Business, Politics, and Public Policy at Texas Woman’s University.
Additionally, both UNT and TWU have been fully-funded for the first time in either school's history.
2017 and 2019 were two of the most pro-life legislative sessions in the history of the Texas Legislature, and Dr. Stucky was on the front lines for these important debates.
Senate Bill 8, which Dr. Stucky co-sponsored in 2017, banned partial birth abortions in Texas with the single exception of saving the life of the mother. It also banned "dismemberment" abortions, one of the most horrific assaults on innocent life.
Furthermore, in the 2017-2019 budget, $18.3 million was allocated to the state’s Alternatives to Abortion program, and Health and Human Services was authorized to spend up to $20 million for more providers and resources to this program. This is a fantastic program that offers a network of crisis pregnancy centers, adoption centers, and maternity homes across Texas to provide support for women in need.
In 2019, Dr. Stucky co-authored House Bill 16, the Infant Born Alive Protection Act, which protects babies who survive abortions by requiring doctors to provide the highest standard of medical care possible in an attempt to save the life of the baby. He also co-sponsored Senate Bill 22 which ensures taxpayer dollars are never used to subsidize abortions.
- Child Welfare Reform
Governor Abbott made it known in January of 2017 that improving Child Protective Services and Texas’ foster care program was one of his top priorities, and Dr. Stucky agreed. The program is designed to protect our most at-risk Texans, and it had been underperforming for years because of an inefficient state bureaucracy.
In an effort to overhaul the entire system, the legislature passed House Bill 4, House Bill 5 and Senate Bill 11 (Dr. Stucky co-authored the two House bills) which provided additional support for “kinship care”, where families take in abused children, establishes the Department of Family and Protective Services as its own agency rather than being under the umbrella of the Health and Human Services Commission, and expanded community based foster care.
The 2017-2019 budget also added $508 million for child protection. This included funds to hire almost 600 new CPS caseworkers, to enhance foster care provider rates, and to provide additional support for kinship care.
- Denton Driver’s License Office
On the Appropriations Committee, Dr. Stucky ensured that the state’s new budget will appropriate $8 million for a much-needed new driver’s license office in the City of Denton, as well as millions more statewide to reduce wait times and improve customer service. The new office in Denton is expected to have 12 service counters and is set to open in December of 2020.
- Denton Economic Development
In the interest of bringing more tourism dollars to Denton County, Dr. Stucky authored and passed House Bill 2445 in 2017 which amends the tax code to allow the City of Denton to use a portion of their municipal hotel occupancy tax revenue for improvements to the city's sports fields and parks. The goal of the city is to attract more youth baseball and other sports tournaments to Denton. This did not increase taxes, but rather authorized the use of existing revenue for the purpose of the improvements.