September Meeting – Overview of Legislative Sessions
Texas Senator (District 7) Paul Bettencourt will present an overview of the 2017 Texas legislature’s regular and special sessions.
First elected to the Senate in 2014, Paul Bettencourt represents Senate District 7, which includes portions of Harris County. He previously served 10 years as the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector, where he introduced “Smart Government” at the Harris County Tax Office and developed a customer service-driven organization. His team created the first major online property tax payment system and the first county tax office website with online automotive registration in Texas. (His motto was “Get on-line, not in-line.”)
In his first legislative session, Senator Bettencourt served as the chief Senate sponsor on 25 bills that the Legislature approved, including his amendment to SB 1760 that requires a 60% supermajority within a taxing jurisdiction to increase property taxes and has already prevented Dallas ISD from imposing a $100 million tax increase on its taxpayers. Senator Bettencourt also led the passage of the Andrea Sloan “Right to Try” bill, which allows terminally ill Texas patients access to drugs still in the FDA approval pipeline, and SB 1004, which expanded dual credit opportunities in Harris County. He built upon this success in the most recent legislative session by passing legislation to stamp out inappropriate student-educator relationships and he reached across the aisle to establish ISD and Charter School Partnerships to give Texas students better access to educational opportunities. Additionally, he worked to pass HB 810, which gets government out of the way and allows adult stem cell treatments to be used for patients facing severe chronic illnesses.
During the interim session, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick appointed Senator Bettencourt to serve as Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform & Relief. The Select Committee toured Texas and heard almost 50 hours of public testimony, discussing ideas to reform the appraisal system and bring tax relief to Texans, as proposed in SB 2 (SB 1 in the special session), the Texas Property Tax Reform and Relief Act of 2017.
Senator Bettencourt also serves on the Senate Finance, Education, and Higher Education committees, and is the Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Relations Committee. Most recently, he was appointed Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Government Reform and unanimously elected by his colleagues to serve as the Chair of the Texas Senate Republican Caucus.
A graduate of Texas A&M University, Senator Bettencourt is the CEO of Bettencourt Tax Advisors, LLC, a tax consulting company in Houston that has grown to more than three dozen employees. He is also a radio and television personality.
The senator and his wife Susan are active members of Saint John Vianney Catholic Church, where Paul is a fourth-degree Knight of Columbus.
~ Kathaleen Wall, Programs