Monday, July 13, 2009

Senator Hegar: "We didn't get the reforms."

Hegar shares disappointments



By Heather Menzies
Bay City Tribune
Copyright 2009

The Chamber of Commerce filled a room in the Civic Center Thursday afternoon for a luncheon with featured speaker Sen. Glenn Hegar (R).

Hegar joined the Bay City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture members Thursday to give his legislative report.

Rep. Randy Weber, Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald, Bay City Mayor Richard Knapik and many other local officials and business leaders attended the luncheon to hear Hegar's report.

He focused his speech on some of the disappointments of the latest legislative session and included a highlight, especially valuable to Matagorda County residents as well.

Hegar, a farmer and landowner in Katy, said the biggest disappointment from the session was not passing eminent domain reforms. "I will say from this last legislative session, one of my biggest disappointments and something I've worked on for almost four years and that was reforming eminent domain," said Hegar. "When you put that much time and effort into trying to get the land owner a true ability to have a much higher standard of property rights, you work on something for four years now and it doesn't happen - it's really disappointing."

He also spoke about bringing accountability to the Texas Department of Transportation as vice chairman of the Sunset Review Commission. "It's important these agencies go under sunset review," he said.

"With TXDOT it's amazing. They had gotten 100,000 complaints a year from people about road conditions and other issues."

Hegar said one of the main problems is that the department didn't track the complaints. "If I were to ask them what roads in the district are having the most complaints, they would say we have no idea."

According to Hegar, the problems with the department of transportation began at the ones in leadership. "It starts at the top and the problem with that agency is that you had arrogance and arrogance," he said.

"So it's not the men and women out on the streets that are the problem." "And so what we need to get back to is about accountability, transparency and building and maintaining roads." "And so we didn't get the reforms there and that's another reason I was very disappointed in this last session."

Hegar said he was glad that the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association reforms were passed.

"Ike left the windstorm insurance broke and we had to reform that," said Hegar.

"We were fortunate enough to be able to get that accomplished by the end of the last day."

Hegar said he fought to get the surcharges and fees on the TWIA policies taken off.

"I told them to add those on there would be like taking a stick and sticking it in their eye and then taking it out and beating the devil out of them with it," he said.

"You just can't do that to my constituents."

"Ultimately, I think we have something the Texas coast can live by."

He also said he was proud of the fiscally strong budget legislators passed.

"We passed a state budget that will increase less than the cost of living increases and inflation over the next two years," he said.

"Why? Because Texans have to live within their means during this time and government should too."

"So we passed a strong fiscally sound budget."

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