VO to File Middle-Class Legislative Agenda

Measures to include more affordable college textbooks, insurance reform, improved accountability in the teacher retirement system, and consumer protections from predatory practices.

(ALIEF) — State Representative Hubert Vo today seized the momentum behind this week’s expected leadership change in the Texas House to announce that he plans to file an ambitious middle-class legislative agenda to make college more affordable, reform insurance, boost accountability in the teacher pension system, and protect consumers by providing veterans with information about the quality of their health care while prohibiting utility companies from cutting off their low-income elderly customers during weather emergencies.

“We have a unique opportunity to make state government work for ordinary families again,” Vo said. “My goal is to safeguard vital public services and guarantee a level playing field for families and small businesses.”

A centerpiece of Vo’s middle-class legislative agenda will be a package of proposals designed to meet the state’s future workforce needs by increasing students’ pathways to graduation.

He will push for the establishment of rigorous graduation requirements over an expanded curriculum that prepares students for the jobs of the future. Another proposal will streamline the college textbook process to make the texts more affordable.

Another proposed bill will recommend revamping the governing board of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). In the face of the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression, Vo noted, the pension fund needs increased accountability and more investment expertise among its trustees.

Another proposed bill will recommend revamping the governing board of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). In the face of the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression, Vo noted, the pension fund needs increased accountability and more investment expertise among its trustees.

Vo’s TRS reforms would alter the board to:

  • Give the Governor three appointees with experience in pension fund investment to serve staggered terms
  • Allow TRS members to elect two trustees currently employed by public school districts
  • Provide for the election by members of one retired public school teacher currently receiving retirement benefits and one retired teacher currently employed by a college or university

Also among the bills Vo will file are proposals to prohibit insurance companies from using a person’s age or education level to determine premium costs, increase the transparency of base rates for all residential property insurers, and curb the practice of people who purchase insurance to qualify for registering a vehicle and then immediately cancel their policies.

In addition, Vo’s legislative agenda will include measures to protect consumers by regulating the marketing of credit cards on college campuses by blocking the availability of student lists to credit card vendors and by prohibiting gifts from vendors to students in exchange for filling out credit card applications. And he will file legislation to force the publication of information about the quality of care provided at veterans’ health care facilities; prohibit utility companies from disconnecting critical-care and low-income elderly customers’ service during summer months; and require cell phones.