Texas - Can House Committee Prevent A Raid On CHL Program?
Friday, February 28, 2003
We can all expect to have to tighten our belts during tough economic times. Governor Rick Perry (R) directed each state agency in Texas to come up with a proposal to reduce their budgets by 7%. The Department of Public Safety -- which is charged with administering Texas` Right To Carry law -- was included among those agencies.
Recently, the head of DPS, Colonel Tom Davis, appeared before a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee and indicated that the Department planned to take more than $800,000 out of the operating budget for the Concealed Handgun License Program and apply it directly to the cost savings the agency has been directed to achieve. This program appears to be way over-represented in the cost savings plan the agency is proposing.
Several key lawmakers were made aware during the 2001 legislative session that DPS had amassed a six-figure surplus in the Concealed Handgun License Program (a number we`re told was amazingly close to the amount of money they plan to take out of the program in their proposed cost-savings plan!) These lawmakers attempted, during last session and throughout the interim, to get DPS to reduce CHL fees where possible. The Governor even issued an Executive Order to that effect last fall. DPS did respond to those requests -- with plenty of excuses as to why they couldn`t reduce fees and absolutely no action to reduce the fees themselves.
And now DPS wants to reduce their budget disproportionately, it seems, on the backs of hard-working Texans who apply for a CHL and already pay some of the highest fees in the nation!
Representatives Dan Ellis (D-Livingston), Suzanna Hupp (R-Lampasas) and Carl Isett (R-Lubbock) are leading the fight to stop this raid on the Concealed Handgun License Program. In fact, Rep. Isett`s HB 498 -- a bill which would lower the cost of renewal CHLs for senior citizens to $35 -- would almost certainly be negatively impacted by the proposed cuts from the program. These folks need your help!
The full Appropriations Committee will meet next week to consider the Department`s proposed cuts. If your State Representative is listed below as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, please contact him or her and share your opposition to DPS` proposed cuts from the Concealed Handgun License Program:
Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.