Protecting Patients with the Texas Health Freedom Act

By Ken Paxton
Capitol Steps

Last March, when Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “ObamaCare,” I committed to work on passing a bill in Texas to reject this over-reaching federal legislation. And so last week (the first week we were able to file bills for the upcoming legislative session, I filed the Texas Health Freedom Act as my first bill for the 82nd Legislative Session.

The power of the federal government to require an individual to purchase health insurance coverage is not found in the United States Constitution. Additionally, the federal government should refrain from imposing unjustified conditions and federal requirements that should be decided by state legislatures, rather than the United State Congress.

My legislation, (House Bill 97 and House Joint Resolution 24) would accomplish the following:

· Guarantees that individuals in Texas have the right to choose or decline to choose health insurance coverage without penalties or sanctions or threats of penalties or sanctions;

· Limits the power of the state agencies, public officials, employees, or political subdivisions from imposing, collecting, or enforcing a penalty or sanction intended to punish or discourage the right of the individual to choose their own private health insurance coverage; and

· Givers the Attorney General the authority to seek injunctive relief against the federal government and defend the state of Texas in court to uphold our state sovereignty.

The U.S. Constitution sets forth the framework of government that limits the power, authority, and ability of the federal government. When the government steps beyond the boundaries of their constitutional limits to require individuals to purchase private products under threat of penalty, then the freedoms of individuals are threatened. The Health Freedom Act, which has been passed by a resounding margin in other states throughout the year, gives Attorney General Abbott the ability to defend our state sovereignty while allowing Texas to determine an appropriate course of action to develop health care delivery methods that maximize the rights of individuals.
State Representative Ken Paxton is in the running for Speaker of the House in Texas.

Joe Jaynes/The County Line: Sam Rayburn Tollway update

By Joe Jaynes
The County Line
According to the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA), all major traffic movements on the Sam Rayburn Tollway (SRT) and US 75 Interchange are expected to be fully operational by the end of January.
This will almost complete the SRT project. The major piece left will be the interchange at the Dallas North Tollway (DNT), which is scheduled to be opened in early 2012.
After touring the project, the NTTA sent over the following facts concerning the SRT (it’s still difficult not to call this 121) that I thought you might find interesting:
* Overall the SRT is approximately 26 miles in length, stretching from Denton Tap Road in Denton County to east of US 75 in Collin County, linking the region’s fastest-growing communities with DFW International Airport;
* The SRT consists of 40 miles of concrete traffic barriers and more than 277 acres of concrete pavement;
* The volume of concrete used in constructing the SRT is enough to build a five-foot-wide sidewalk from Dallas to Minneapolis;
* The square foot area of concrete walls along the tollway is approximately the same square foot area as the face of the Hoover Dam;
* The SRT/US 75 Interchange is designed to handle 238,000 vehicles per day;
* 16 million pounds of steel beams are being used to construct the SRT/DNT Interchange. This is enough steel to reconstruct the Eiffel Tower or build 1 ? Gateway Arches in St. Louis;
* The SRT project used approximately 4 million cubic yards of fill, which was equates to 400,000 dump truck loads of dirt;
* If the dump trucks that hauled the dirt were lined up from end to end, they would stretch close to 1,890 miles — greater than the distance from Dallas to Boston;
* The SRT has more than a half acre of aluminum signs; and
* The sod used to cover this project would cover 325 football fields or three 18-hole golf courses.
Most important about this project is that Collin County received approximately $1.4 billion in funding from the NTTA for future transportation projects. This funding is called Regional Toll Revenue (RTR) funds.
RTR funds will be used on the US 75 expansion, which will be well under way by this time next year.
The total scope of the U.S. 75 expansion is from Spring Creek Parkway in Plano north through Allen, McKinney and Melissa to the Outer Loop just south of Anna.
In addition RTR funds are also being used for the expansions of virtually every major thoroughfare throughout Collin County including:
– SH 121 through Melissa
– FM 455 in Anna
– U.S. 380 through Farmersville
– U.S. 78 through the Wylie and Lavon areas
– U.S. 380 through Frisco
– U.S. 289 through Prosper and Celina
– Custer Road in McKinney
With the state facing a $25 billion shortfall it is safe to say that there will not be any new funding for transportation coming out of the legislature next year.
It is the RTR funding from the Sam Rayburn Tollway that is keeping Collin County’s major transportation projects moving and our economic development growing.
I look forward to keeping you updated on these important projects.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families.

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