Stephenson Signs First Bill As A State Representative

Texas state Rep. Phil Stephenson [State of Texas]
It's time for an update from the 83rd legislative session. KUHF is profiling lawmaker Rep. Phil Stephenson from Wharton County. His latest achievement was signing his first bill for $4.8 billion dollars to pay Texas' Medicare bill.

“I just walked there into my chief of staff said, 'I just spent the state’s $4.8 billion of their money today. What do you think about that one?'”

It’s the first bill that’s been signed in Texas’ House of Representatives since the session started on January 8th.

The Senate has already been busy voting on bills but the constitution says the house has to wait 30 days.

However that’s not to say Rep. Stephenson hasn’t been busy. He’s been appointed to two committees, Government Efficiency and Reform and House Pensions.

As a CPA he’s asking lots of questions:

“What’s causing? Where’s the weakness? What could we improve and that’s what we hope to do in the committees — both of them.”

Daily he’s also trying to keep up with the stack of House bills on his desk, numbering close to 2,000 already and the growing number of people coming through his door.

“I’ll tell (th)em the truth that’s the first thing. If I think it’s a bad idea, I'll tell (th)em, 'I don’t think I can carry that.' I just try to find out ... what they... what do you really want. That’s the hardest thing to do. Some people don’t wanna tell you, they just want to hem around the deal, especially the lobbyist people.”

Rep. Stephenson has also filed 4 bills and co-authored 2.

But there’s one he would really like to write. It’s an educational bill where a portion of our tax dollars will go to providing educational equipment for vocational training of high school students.

We’ll continue to follow Rep. Stephenson as finds his voice in this 83rd legislative session. 

Bio photo of Edel Howlin

Edel Howlin

Producer, Houston Matters

Edel is a producer on Houston Matters and reporter for PBS’s Newshour Weekend...