Featured, from left: J.J. Flores, Vice Chair of Special Events, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, and representing Chorizo de San Manuel; Gus García, Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; and Ronnie Larralde, Director of Marketing & Special Events, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. The Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, presented a $10,000 contribution to the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce to help cover expenses for Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg barbecue cook-off, which takes place on Saturday, July 1, 2017, at H-E-B Park. The national-level barbecue competition will occur on the second day of the annual two-day event, which kicks off Friday evening, June 30, 2017 as part of the city’s Fourth of July festivities. “This event is great for Edinburg. It gives area residents a family-friendly event with entertainment for all,” said Gus García, Executive Director of the Edinburg EDC. “It also brings in so many visitors from outside the region and they too will get to enjoy this amazing venue. H-E-B Park has become a trending spot for the hottest events coming to the Valley and it’s right here in Edinburg. It’s such a versatile park and it’s great seeing it being used in so many different ways.” On Friday, music fans will be able to purchase tickets ($30 apiece) for a major concert, to begin at 6 p.m. at the outdoor amphitheater, that will feature two of Edinburg’s many talented musical performers – Matt and the Herdsman (http://www.mattandtheherdsmen.com), and Southern Ashes (https://www.facebook.com/SouthernAshesMusic/) – followed by two national headline groups: Los Lonely Boys LosLonelyBoys.com and then the Eli Young Band (http://www.cmt.com/artists/eli-young-band).
Photograph By JENNIFER CABRERA
Featured promoting Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg (Friday, June 30, 2017 and Saturday, July 1, 2017) during the Edinburg City Council meeting held on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, are, from left, front row: Marty Martin, Immediate Past Chairman of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, representing Rio Valley Realty; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Alex Ríos, Chair-Elect, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, representing Kids College Learning Center and the Office of State Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; and J.J. Flores, Vice Chair of Special Events, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, and representing Chorizo de San Manuel. Back row, from left: City Councilmember David Torres; City Councilmember Richard Molina; Mayor Richard García; and City Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr. With more than 1,000 people from outside of the Valley anticipated to show up for the upcoming Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg barbecue cook-off, which takes place on Saturday, July 1, 2017 – along with several thousand more in attendance from the city and the Valley – the community will continue to sizzle as a Destination City, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Adding to the wow factor for residents and visitors, the gathering for the first time will be held at the recently-opened H-E-B Park, located at 1616 S. Raul Longoria Road, which boasts a $16.8+ million, 9,735-seat professional soccer stadium as part of the 37-acre site, a sprawling park with all amenities, an amphitheater with a capacity of 2,000 people, well-lighted parking, and security and medical personnel for major gatherings (http://www.hebparkrgv.com). Now entering its 12th year, Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg will provide $30,000 in cash prizes, with the top winner in the day-long barbecue competition that will be held all day Saturday to take home $2,000, and qualify for other nationally-sanctioned competitions later this year.
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
Featured, from left: Ringo Garza, drums/vocals, Jojo Garza, bass guitar/vocals, and Henry Garza, guitar/vocals, of Los Lonely Boys, an American rock power trio of brothers from San Angelo, Texas, who play a style of music they call “Texican Rock n’ Roll,” combining elements of rock and roll, Texas blues, brown-eyed soul, country, and Tejano. They will perform from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 30, 2017 at the amphitheater of H-E-B Park in Edinburg as part of the two-day Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg, which includes the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation as a major sponsor of the annual event. Their debut single, “Heaven”, was a number-one hit on the Billboard adult contemporary chart and reached the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2004. In 2009, they signed to Austin-based indie label, Playing in Traffic Records, and released an EP, “1969” and three albums under their LonelyTone imprint, Keep On Giving: Acoustic Live!, Rockpango, and their newest release, Revelation. The performances start earlier that evening, with Edinburg country music bands Southern Ashes kicking off the concert at 6 p.m., followed by Matt and the Herdsmen.
Featured, from left are the members of the Eli Young Band: Chris Thompson, drums: Mike Eli, vocals/guitar; James Young, lead guitar; and Jon Jones, bass guitar. The Eli Young Band (EYB) is the final act scheduled to headline the two-day Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg on Friday, June 30, 2o17, with the country music stars set to come on stage at the amphitheater at H-E-B Park beginning at 10 p.m. EYB’s hit singles have been awarded Billboard’s #1 Country Song of the Year and ACM (Academy of Country Music) Song of the Year, in addition to garnering EYB numerous nominations from GRAMMY (https://www.grammy.org/recording-academy/awards), CMA (Country Music Association), CMT (Country Music Television), and Teen Choice Awards. They have performed on NBC’s TODAY, Conan, Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Fox & Friends. The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is a major sponsor the Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg.
Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, looks out at the Texas Capitol grounds in Austin as he handles calls from constituents during a break from legislative debate on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives earlier this spring 2017.
Photograph By HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY
Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday, June 15, 2017, approved House Bill 351 by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, which will help do away with a decades-old injustice which results in hundreds of thousands of Texans going to jail every year because they are too poor to pay fines for traffic tickets and other Class C misdemeanors. HB 351 was one of 12 measures passed by Canales which were approved by the Texas Legislature and the governor following the five-month regular session, which ended on Monday, May 31, 2017. Those 12 now-enacted state laws covered a wide range of issues, from protecting veterans and victims of family violence, to advancing medical education, creating more jobs, and promoting open government. In addition, Canales also served as a joint author or co-author of 24 other bills. The legislator who files a bill and guides it through the legislative process is the author (also called the primary author). The Senate allows multiple primary authors for each bill or resolution. The House of Representatives allows only one primary author, the house member whose signature appears on the original measure and on the copies filed with the chief clerk. Both chambers also have coauthors, and the house of representatives has joint authors. Canales said HB 351 represents a “sweeping reform” of the state’s criminal justice system. “In Texas, at the rate we are going, we were going to eventually be throwing a million poor people in jail every year for failure to pay tickets, fines and fees arising from court cases,” explained the House District 40 lawmaker, who is an attorney. “We have too many Texans statewide who are struggling to pay rent and groceries, then they wind up getting ticketed and getting jailed for the most minor offenses, such as traffic violations.” For Class C misdemeanors, there is no jail time, and the fine is limited up to $500. But a person can be put in jail for not paying the fines, and other related costs, such as failure to appear in court. Canale added that the border of jailing all these people for petty crimes ultimately falls on the shoulders of taxpayers. “This whole system of putting poor people in jail has become a convenient cash cow for our government, which wants to squeeze money out of indigent Texans,” he said. “HB 351 provides a much better way for minor offenders to pay their debt to society without unjustly putting them behind bars.” Canales is the primary author of HB 351 while Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, by carrying HB 351 in the Senate, is the primary sponsor of the legislation. The measure, which won final support in the House of Representatives on a huge, bipartisan vote of 132 Yeas, 11 Nays, and 2 Present, Not Voting.
Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, D-San Antonio, during a meeting at the Capitol of the Jurisprudence Subcommittee on Asset Forfeiture on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.
Photograph By HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY
State lawmakers on Friday, May 26, 2017, approved House Bill 351 by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, which will help do away with a decades-old injustice which results in hundreds of thousands of Texans going to jail every year because they are too poor to pay fines for traffic tickets and other Class C misdemeanors. Canales said HB 351 represents a “sweeping reform” of the state’s criminal justice system. “In Texas, at the rate we are going, we were going to eventually be throwing a million poor people in jail every year for failure to pay tickets, fines and fees arising from court cases,” explained the House District 40 lawmaker, who is an attorney. “We have too many Texans statewide who are struggling to pay rent and groceries, then they wind up getting ticketed and getting jailed for the most minor offenses, such as traffic violations.” For Class C misdemeanors, there is no jail time, and the fine is limited up to $500. But a person can be put in jail for not paying the fines, and other related costs, such as failure to appear in court. Canales added that taxpayers wind up paying more because through the costs it takes to look after people who are in local jails for petty crimes. “This whole system of putting poor people in jail has become a convenient cash cow for our government, who want to squeeze money out of indigent Texans,” he said. “HB 351 provides a much better way for minor offenders to pay their debt to society without unjustly putting them behind bars.” Canales is the primary author of HB 351 while Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, by carrying HB 351 in the Senate, is the primary sponsor of the legislation. Hinojosa, also an attorney, agreed with the need for Canales’ legislation. “Our current system is counter-productive, and it traps people into a cycle of debt when they cannot pay their tickets and other low-level, fine-only citations. Our current practice also leads to license suspensions and arrest warrants,” said Hinojosa. “In 2015, fines in over 677,00 cases were satisfied through jail credit and over 230,000 Texas were unable to renew expired licenses until their fines and fees were paid off.” HB 351 allows courts to ask about a defendant’s ability to pay during the sentencing phase, Hinojosa explained. “After making that determination, courts would be allowed to reduce or waive fines and costs and offer community service as an alternative. In 2015, judges resolved fine-only cases with community service just 1.3 percent of the time,” Hinojosa said. “HB 351 seeks to put the justice system’s time and resources to more efficient use by holding people accountable while saving money and increasing public safety.”
Featured, from left: Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler; Rep. Mike Lang, R-Grandbury; Rachel Wetsel, Clerk, House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence; and Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. Canales was serving as Chair of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Subcommittee on Asset Forfeiture during its meeting in Austin on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.
Photograph By HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY
Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, along with a bipartisan supermajority of the Texas House of Representatives, wants President Trump and Congress to avoid any actions that would threaten almost $92.5 billion in annual Texas exports to Mexico, which is the largest trading partner for the Lone Star State. Exports are goods or services sent to another country for sale. Mexico’s relationship to Texas is so important to state lawmakers that they want to make sure their federal counterparts in Washington D.C. also don’t jeopardize hundreds of thousands of Texas jobs because of negative stereotypes or ignorance of Mexico’s roles in creating jobs and prosperity for all Americans. Through the use of a legislative measure, House Resolution 1025 by Canales, the Texas House of Representatives is urging the nation’s top elected leaders to recognize the huge significance of trade between Texas and Mexico. “As Texans, we understand the importance of the Texas-Mexico relationship to the economic success of state. 382,000 Texas jobs are supported by trade with Mexico” said Canales. “Should this relationship be impacted negatively, the social and economic security of the Texas border region would be devastating.” HR 1025, which is being sent to President Trump and Congress, calls on national leaders – many who are unfamiliar with U.S. international commerce involving Mexico – “to fully evaluate the impact of proposed federal trade policies, legislation, executive orders, and other actions on Texas-Mexico commerce.”
Featured: A recent U.S. Air Force poster, part of an ongoing campaign by the American military in support of Airmen and their families who have been a victim of sexual assault. In Texas, a statewide effort led by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, is underway to develop strategies to reduce sexual assault by equipping the public with knowledge and awareness of this serious crime by designating April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Photograph Courtesy of U.S. AIR FORCE
Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, has proposed that April would be designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Texas in order to increase knowledge that leads to more prevention of sexual assault and punishment of criminals, and to authorize the regular observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month through appropriate activities in public schools and other places. Sexual assault, according to FindLaw.com, occurs when a defendant – intentionally and knowingly – commits any of a number of prohibited sexual activities listed under Texas’ sexual assault law without the victim’s consent. Canales’ proposal, as illustrated in House Bill 822, was overwhelmingly approved by the Texas House of Representatives on Thursday, April 2o, 2017. The bill will now go to the Texas Senate for their action. “Today, I passed legislation out of the House to officially designate the month of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in an effort to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual assault,” Canales said. “We need everyone’s help to reduce sexual assault, and I believe that officially designating this month is a step in the right direction towards proactively reducing sexual assault.” Sexual assault is a serious criminal violation. Canales’ measure stems from a study conducted by UT Austin’s Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, whose findings were released on Friday, March 24, 2017. The report titled Cultivating Learning and Safe Environments showed that sexual assault is an ongoing problem throughout society, including in the halls of higher education. According to the study, almost 200 out of the more than 3,800 students who participated in the anonymous online survey reported to have been sexually assaulted since they have been enrolled at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s campuses. Nine percent of those students who participated in the anonymous online survey – almost 350 individuals – said they had been victims of unwanted sexual touching since they have been enrolled at UTRGV’s campuses. “These figures are shocking, to say the least,” said Canales, an attorney who also serves on the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, which shapes state laws to protect Texans, especially from violent criminals. “But through this legislation, and another major bill I am working on, we are going to help remove the shroud of secrecy over sexual assault, family violence, and stalking policies at our public universities and colleges.” House Bill 1096, coauthored by Canales and Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, would require public universities and colleges in Texas to provide students and organizations with information about these crimes. “If HB 1096 becomes law, but a public university or college fails to provide that information, that university or college would not receive any state funding,” Canales said.