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Changes in Bill Hb 1937

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Texas Government – Final Assignment After the first introduction of HB 1937 bill, the Texas Government Code 3106 was then further developed by many other bills like HB 1977, HB 1164 and SB 877, etc. Over the past years, those changes have made the Stars of Texas awards become an award which not only honors more and more people, but also encourages more and more people to get engaged in Texas security building work.
Generally speaking, by having the bill of HB 1937, Gallego, the author of the bill, wanted the men and women whose profession was peace officer, firefighters or emergency medical first responders across Texas, and who have been killed or injured in the line of duty to be honored by Texas government. In 2003, when the bill was first introduced, Gallego, made clear definition of professions relating to Texas memorial medal of valor awards (this award was named star of Texas Awards after the review of House Committee). For example, in his introduced bill of HB 1937, he explained the meaning of “Emergency medical first responder”, “Firefighter”, and “Peace officer”.
And, Gallego intended to clarify who would be able to issue the award, who would be able to receive the award, and who would be able to decide the recipients of the award. For instance, Gallego said that the Texas Peace Officers Memorial Medal of Valor Advisory Committee shall advise the governor on the issuance of the award. Also, Gallego mentioned the committee consists of three current or retired peace officers appointed by the governor and those three peace members of committee should have served with distinction.
When Gallego’s bill was reviewed by the House Committee, the House Committee made some changes. For instance, the definition of “Emergency medical first responder” was changed. Gallego defined the emergency medical first responder as the medical service provider who provides prehospital care before the sick or injured gets to a medical facility. The House Committee wrote that as long as the medical service provider provides urgent on-site medical care, he/she is considered to be an “Emergency medical first provider”.
In my opinion, the House committee made this change because the word “on-site” is much briefer than Gallego’s original explanations. And also, if there’s a bomb explosion in a hospital caused by terrorists, and the doctors who work in that hospital make every effort to save people’s lives “on-site” even if they are not required to do so, they should of course be eligible for Stars of Texas awards. Because they might face the second attack from the terrorists, but in order to save people’s lives in time, they choose to stay and help rather than evacuate. And is this case, Gallego’s explanation of “Emergency medical first responder” would not recognize those doctor as eligible recipients of this award because they are at hospital. There was also an amendment of Gallegos’s original bill. The amendment was “A member of an advisory committee may not receive compensation (, but is entitled to reimbursement of the) for service on the committee or reimbursement for travel expenses incurred while conducting the business of the committee (, as provided in the General Appropriations Act)”. This amendment made the bill much briefer. For example, Gallego explained the reason that why committee members cannot have compensations for their work by saying his idea was provided by the General Appropriate Act. But in my opinion, he didn’t need to do so because the Senate Committee would check if his opinion or not. And if the bill was approved, it already showed everything stated in it was legal. Therefore Gallego didn’t need to explain why his opinions were legal.
When Gallego’s bill was reviewed by the Senate Committee, the Senate Committee also made some changes. For example, the Senate Committee added that September 11th would be the Texas First Responders Day in honor of the bravery of Texas men and women who assisted others in emergencies. This addition could encourage more people to get engaged in helping others, not only peace officers, firefighters, and emergency medical first responders.
And, the Texas First Responders Day shall be regularly observed by appropriate ceremonies in public schools and other places according to the bill. Although other professions could not get a medal, the Texas First Responders Day suggested that anyone in Texas who helped someone else would be honored by Texas. Also, holding ceremonies in places like public schools can better teach kids to be brave and better encourage those kids to become engaged in helping others.
In HB 1977, it mentioned the issuance a Star of Texas license plate to any recipient of a Star of Texas Award. In my opinion, the issuance of the special license plate could make the recipient of Star of Texas Award be more recognizable in public, and therefore they could get more respect from the public. However, in the report of House Committee, the license plate part was cancelled. In other words, they House Committee did not approve the issuance of special license plate to any Star of Texas Award Recipient. And also, in the enrolled version of this bill, there was no words about the issuance of Star of Texas license plate.
I think it is not necessary to make a Star of Texas Award recipient so recognizable in public, because it is unfair to other award winners who make contribution in other areas if they don’t have a special license plate. And if the government issues various kinds of license plates to various award winners, it will not only cause financial costs, but also adding extra work to the department of motor vehicles. And I think those are the reasons that the license plate idea was rejected.
In the introduced version of HB 1977, there were few changes on words compared to HB 1937. For example, it HB 1977, it has the following changes, “the Peace Officers’ Star of Texas award shall (“shall” used to be “may”) be awarded to each (“each” used to be “a”) peace officer who is seriously injured in the line of duty and the surviving next of kin of each (“each” used to be “a”) peace officer who is killed or sustain a fatal injury in the line of duty”. And those changes were approved and kept in the enrolled version. In my opinion, the word “shall” and “each” both have stronger tone. It means it’s the Texas government responsibility to award and honor everyone who is eligible for the Star of Texas Award. I also think those two changes better protect the benefits of people who are eligible for the award, because the government now has no excuse if it makes mistakes and forgets to award someone eligible by playing around with the word - “may”. Also, the word “each” has a stronger tone than the word “a”. Therefore it can show the determination of the government to honor every single person who is eligible for the Stars of Texas awards.
In the year of 2007, the code was further developed by the bill of HB 1164 80(R). The background of the HB 1164 was Brian Powell, a current professor at Midland College received a letter from a mother of a federal agent. The agent was killed while assisting Texas peace officers. This mother believed that her child should deserve the award, but the code at that time said only peace officers, emergency medical first responder, and firefighters would be eligible to get the award. To make this agent and other federal law enforcement officers like this agent to be eligible for Star of Texas awards, the HB 1164 bill was proposed.
In the bill, it says a federal law enforcement officer or special agent has been killed or seriously injured while performing duties in this state to assist a state or local law enforcement agency is also eligible for the Star of Texas awards. I think this change is a huge success because it does not limit the range of award recipients by their identity, but by what they have done. For anyone who has made sacrifice and made contribution to Texas peace and security, he/she should be honored with the Star of Texas awards. And gladly, this change was passed by the Senate Speaker of the House and it was kept in the enrolled version of the bill.
In 2013, Patrick proposed the bill SB 877 to further complete the Government Code 3106. He added the definition of “Next of kin” by saying “the relative in the nearest degree of relationship to a deceased person, including the person’s spouse, child, parent, or siblings”. As far as I am concerned, this addition can make the award committee become clearer when selecting who should be the “next of kin”.
There is one more great improvement that SB 877 bill has achieved. The bill states that a private citizen can also be eligible for a Citizen’s Star of Texas award if he/she is seriously injured while assisting a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical first responder during the performance of their duties. This change can help honor more people who are involved in the work of peace and security building of Texas.
And gladly, the bill was passed. This bill not only honors the private citizens who have made sacrifice to Texas peace and security building, but also encourages more people to get engaged in Texas peace and security building work. Keeping Texas a peaceful place is not only the work of firefighters, emergency medical responders, peace officers or other law enforcement officers, it is the job of every Texas citizen. Therefore, citizens should get involved in the security building work and the one who has made great sacrifice should be honored.
The establishment of the Stars of Texas awards has honored many first responders and their families for their extraordinary work. In the first year of this award, which is 2004, only three persons were awarded. They were Scott Poole from Wichita Falls Police Department, Charles Krenek from Lufkin Fire Department and Paul Lujan from CareStar Air Ambulance Service, Odessa. But after 2004, there are more and more people awarded. For instance, in 2013, there were 72 persons who were awarded by Starts of Texas awards. To some degree, I think the establishment of this prize not only honors first responders but also encourages more people to be brave and dedicated for helping others. And the growing number of award recipients can somehow prove it.
And in my opinion, it is not only the pass of the bill of HB 1937 and the establishment of Stars of Texas awards that get more people become active in helping others in emergencies, but also the following bills like HB 1977 which have further developed the Government Code 3106. Because of those following bills, the code makes more people eligible for this award, and therefore encourage people from different professions become actively engaged in helping others in emergencies. The award itself is important, but what’s more important is the ideology of helping others has been spread by this award.
In conclusion, the HB 1937 bill has been further developed by many other reviews and bills. Those changes make the original version of Galleto’s HB 1937 become more clearly stated. And those changes have taken more situations into consideration to make the award become a better tool to spread the ideology of helping others in emergencies, such as having a Texas First Responders Day and having Citizens’ Star of Texas Award. Some changes seem to be minor changes, like change the word “may” into “shall” and “a” into “each”, but they have stronger suggestions of the government’s determination of honoring the first responders and their families who have made sacrifice on their duties of line.

Citations:
Office of the Year Awards." Facilities 8.11 (2014): 17-22. Web. 9 Aug. 2015.
80(R) HB 1164 - Enrolled Version - Bill Text." 80(R) HB 1164 - Enrolled Version - Bill Text. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
Patrick. "83(R) SB 877 - Introduced Version - Bill Text." 83(R) SB 877 - Introduced Version - Bill Text. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
Gallego. "78(R) HB 1937 - Introduced Version - Bill Text." 78(R) HB 1937 - Introduced Version - Bill Text. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
"78(R) HB 1937 - Enrolled Version - Bill Text." 78(R) HB 1937 - Enrolled Version - Bill Text. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
78(R) HB 1937 - House Committee Report Version - Bill Text." 78(R) HB 1937 - House Committee Report Version - Bill Text. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
Patrick. "83(R) SB 877 – House Committee Report Version - Bill Text." 83(R) SB 877 - Introduced Version - Bill Text. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
Patrick. "83(R) SB 877 – Senate Committee Report Version - Bill Text." 83(R) SB 877 - Introduced Version - Bill Text. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
80(R) HB 1164 – Introduced Version - Bill Text." 80(R) HB 1164 - Enrolled Version - Bill Text. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.
"80(R) HB 1164 – House Committee Report Version - Bill Text." 80(R) HB 1164 - Enrolled Version - Bill Text. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.

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