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New state laws will help more military veterans with disabilities, and surviving spouses of first responders who died in the line of duty, to qualify for property tax protections, says Rep. Canales

Featured: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class JoAnn Consiglio, assigned to Navy Officer Recruiting Station Harlingen in Texas, is joined by other sailors of Navy Recruiting District San Antonio and Navy City Outreach Southwest Region, including Lt. Cmdr. Diana Tran-Yu of Navy City, in discussing grassroots perspectives on opportunities, benefits, and careers in the Navy to students during Latina Day on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at the Hispanic Engineering, Science, and Technology (HESTEC) Week on the Edinburg campus of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Photograph By BURRELL PARMER

With scores of Texans preparing to pay their 2017 annual home property taxes, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, is reminding military veterans, and the surviving spouses of first responders who were killed or fatally injured in the line of duty, that there are new laws in place that can help many of them reduce the bills on their primary residence. “Home ownership is a vital part of the American Dream, and I have always supported efforts to provide property tax relief to Texans, such as local property tax freezes for homeowners who are 65-years-of-age or older, and for homeowners who have physical disabilities,” said Canales. “This year, I successfully authored House Bill 217, which provides property tax relief for certain veterans who have a disability, and I voted to place two other measures that protect homeowners on the November 2017 statewide constitutional amendments election ballot, where they were subsequently approved by voters – House Joint Resolution 21 and Senate Joint Resolution 1.” The House Research Organization, which is the nonpartisan research division of the Texas House of Representatives, provides the following background and goals of HB 217, HJR 21, and SJR 1, which became state law in 2017: House Bill (HB) 217 – Canales was the author of HB 217 while Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, sponsored Canales’ bill in the Texas Senate – provides veterans who are disabled, in the instances they were not protected under now-former Texas laws, the ability to defer collection of property taxes or the abatement of a foreclosure/sale of their home due to delinquent property taxes; House Joint Resolution (HJR) 21 –  it was approved by Texas voters as Proposition 1 during November 7, 2017 state constitutional amendment election– fixes a shortcoming in current law that unfairly resulted in increasing the financial burden on a veteran with a partial disability who paid some amount of the cost of a donated home; and Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 1 – it was approved by Texas voters as Proposition 6 during the November 7, 2017 state constitutional amendment election – allows a surviving spouse of a first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty to receive an exemption from ad valorem taxation from all or part of the market value on the surviving spouse’s residence homestead, as long as the surviving spouse has not remarried since the death of the first responder. According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Texas offers a variety of partial or total (absolute) exemptions from appraised property values used to determine local property taxes. A partial exemption removes a percentage or a fixed dollar amount of a property’s value from taxation. A total (absolute) exemption excludes the entire property from taxation. Taxing units are mandated by the state to offer certain (mandatory) exemptions and have the option to decide locally on whether or not to offer others (local option). (https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax/exemptions/

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Rep. Canales supports creation of Texas legislative panel to improve governments’ transparency and accountability to citizens

Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, with his wife, Erica, on Wednesday, October 4, 2017, prior to the House District 40 state legislator addressing the Edinburg Rotary Club on various issues that affect his constituents.

Photograph By ALEX RÍOS

Texans deserve more power to know what their governments are doing, says Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, who has formally asked Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, to create a special House-Senate legislative panel to improve transparency and accountability to citizens. Canales, the House District 40 state lawmaker from Hidalgo County, during his career in the Texas Legislature has authored, sponsored, and voted for legislation designed to strengthen public knowledge about the actions of local and state governments, before, during, and after such efforts by those public entities take place. “I have a proven track record of fighting for open-government legislation during my five years as a state lawmaker, through carrying measures that bear my name, and through my work in House committees and on the floor of the House of Representatives, where I have always spoken in favor and voted for dozens of measures that protect the people’s right to know about what our local and state governments are doing in our name with our public resources,” said Canales. In general, open-government is a set of beliefs that all government business should be open to regulation and scrutiny by the public. The Texas Public Information Act and the Texas Open Meetings Act are the two most powerful sets of laws in the state regarding public disclosure of actions of local and state governments. During the recently-concluded 85th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature, which was held from January through May 2017, Canales authored one of the few proposals dealing with open government and public information that became state law. As of September 1, 2017, as a result of Canales’ House Bill 214, the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals – the highest courts in the state – are required to dramatically improve the ability of the public to see what is going on in the two Austin-based powerful trial courts. “Recording and broadcasting courtroom proceedings can promote transparency and allow the public to evaluate the efficacy of the judicial system,” explained Canales. “To increase the public’s access to the judicial branch, H.B. 214 builds upon previous policies by requiring the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to make video recordings of their oral arguments, and any open meeting the courts have, and publish the recordings on their respective websites.” The Texas Supreme Court is the state’s highest court for civil matters, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is the state’s highest court for criminal matters.  

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Rep. Muñoz, whose legislation protects children, consumers, crime victims, and public education, to seek fifth term as House District 36 lawmaker

Featured: Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, in his seat at his desk on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives. 

Photograph by PETER SALINAS

Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, whose legislation protects children, consumers, crime victims, and public education, will seek a fifth, two-year term as state lawmaker for House District 36, a key South Texas region which includes all or parts of the cities of Hidalgo, Granjeño, McAllen, Mission, Palmview and Pharr. Muñoz, whose achievements have earned him membership to key House legislative panels, including the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, also has used his eight years experience in the Texas Legislature to make improvements on border trade and economic prosperity, educational funding and opportunities for students, teachers and education professionals, while successfully championing a higher quality-of-life and access to health care for his constituents. “There is no substitute for experience in life, and the same goes for the Texas Legislature,” said Muñoz, an attorney by profession. “When it comes to getting results for our area, I have an expert knowledge of the legislative process, so I know how to work with my colleagues and the state leadership, and I am able to get big things done for us in House District 36.” Muñoz and his wife María Elena have three children – Gael Sebastián, Sergio Emiliano, and Caterina Violetta. He is the son of former Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Sr., a local healthcare businessman and Connie Muñoz, a long-time educator from the Mission area. His sister, Marla Muñoz-López, is a healthcare professional. He attributes his success and commitment towards civic duty to the values instilled by his parents and strengthened by his love for his family. In addition to his immediate family and his service in the Texas Legislature, Muñoz is a civil and criminal law attorney and sole principal of the Muñoz Law Firm, serving the South Texas region. He served as a Municipal Judge in Palmview, Texas and is a member of the Hidalgo County Bar Association. Beyond his professional service, Representative Muñoz is a member of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the Knights of Columbus. He attends both Our Lady of the Guadalupe Catholic Church and St. John of the Field’s Catholic Church. Muñoz has served in the Texas Legislature since 2011 and represents all or parts of the cities of Hidalgo, Granjeño, McAllen, Mission, Palmview and Pharr. His Capitol office is located at CAP 4S.4 in the Texas Capitol, and may be reached at (512) 463-0704. His District Office is located at 121 E. Tom Landry, Mission, and may be reached at (956) 584-8999.

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Texas to recognize thousands of South Texas descendants of Mexican Americans murdered by Texas Rangers during Matanza (Massacre) of 1915 that took place in the Valley, says Rep. Canales

Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, addressing participants at the Friday, October 6, 2017 groundbreaking ceremony that took place near Edinburg Lake, a 63-mile drainage improvement system that will benefit Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy counties. “For more than 30 years, Rio Grande Valley leaders have worked to lay the foundations for this massive 150 foot-wide drainage system which will run from Hargill to the Laguna Madre,” said the House District 40 lawmaker. “This project will help redirect a significant amount of the stormwater safely away from many of our communities that suffer from flooding while helping protect our homes and businesses, as well as the continued economic development of flood-prone areas in both Hidalgo and Willacy counties.”

Photograph By ALEX RÍOS

Almost 100 years after Rep. José Tomás Canales, a Brownsville Democrat, politically battled the Texas Rangers for murdering scores of innocent South Texans because they were Mexican American, the State of Texas on Saturday, October 14, 2017 will officially acknowledge, with a permanent public display, that dark period in the state’s history and recognize the descendants of those victims affected by that brutality, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, has announced. The unveiling of the state historical marker will take place at 10 a.m. at the Saturday, October 14, 2017 gathering, which will be held at the Southbound Exit 16, Parking/Rest Area between San Benito and Los Fresnos exits. The gathering is open to the public. Canales is a grand nephew of José Tomás Canales, who, as the only Mexican American in the Texas Legislature in 1919, filed legislation to stop that illegal state police violence. “In Texas, there has been a long and continued effort to minimize the struggle of ethnic minorities’ quest for civil rights,” Canales said. “The stories told by these historians in this historical marker and their many published works are an important part of a larger story about the continued struggle of Texas Latinos, who have been fighting for equal rights since the founding of this state.” The Refusing to Forget Project has organized four days of presentations and panel discussions as part of “Resilience en el Valle: Remember the Matanza (Massacre) of 1915” that will lead to the Saturday, October 14, 2017 dedication of the state marker. “The approval and erection of this marker is as close as the government of the State of Texas has gotten to acknowledging its role in the horrific anti-Mexican violence of the 1910s,” said historian Benjamin Johnson, author of the bookRevolution in Texas. “We at Refusing to Forget are pleased that these events are finally getting some of the public recognition that they deserve.”

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Rep. Canales, with major successes in economic development and jobs creation, criminal justice reform, and a key champion of citizens’ power over their governments, to seek fourth term

Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, son Terry Andrés II, and Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, during a break on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives during the special session of the Texas Legislature held earlier this summer. Canales is married to Erica E. Canales, whose family also features Caleb Ezra, Catalina, Juliana and Trígo. They live in Edinburg.

Photograph By HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY

Noting his successes on behalf of economic development and jobs creation, criminal justice reform, and openness, accountability, and honesty in government, Rep. Terry Canales, a Democrat who represents House District 40 in Hidalgo County, has announced his bid for reelection to a fourth term in the Texas House of Representatives. The Democratic and Republican Party primaries for all state representative seats in Texas are scheduled for early March 2018, with the general election to be held in November 2018, for new two-year terms to begin in mid-January 2019, when the 86th Texas Legislature convenes for its five-month regular session. “My record speaks for itself – it is public and available for all to see on key websites, including my Facebook Page (facebook.com/RepTerryCanales/) and at http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/,” Canales said. “With the conclusion of the recent special session of the Texas Legislature, which ended on August 15, I have been back in the Rio Grande Valley, meeting with community leaders and preparing for the 86th Texas Legislature.” The Edinburg-based attorney emphasized the importance of House District 40 residents being involved in all aspects of the state legislative process. “As always, I look forward to receiving ideas from my my constituents on what state laws and policies are needed to help them in their businesses, their jobs, and with their families,” Canales said. “This office does not belong to me, it belongs to all of the people of House District 40. I always ask for their help and advice in being a leader who is also their servant.” A constituent is a person who lives in an area for which they are able, if qualified, to vote for elected officials. A constituent does not have to be a property owner to be qualified to vote. Canales, D-Edinburg, who was born in Hidalgo County and is a native of South Texas, was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2012. His legislative district, anchored by the majority of Edinburg, covers the heart of Hidalgo County, and includes Elsa, north Pharr, San Carlos, La Blanca, Faysville, and portions of McAllen and Weslaco. “House District 40, the Rio Grande Valley, and all of South Texas continue to build into amazing  economic powerhouses for Texas and our nation because of our people, our work ethic, our education and skills, and our relentless drive for excellence,” said Canales. “It is an honor and a privilege for me to help the people of  this tremendous region to share in the American Dream, so that everyone has opportunities to be happy and successful.” 

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