Featured, from left: Councilmember Jorge Salinas, Mayor Pro-Tem David Torres, John H. Krouse, Dean of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine and Vice President of Health Affairs at UTRGV, and Mayor Richard Molina, following Krouse’s keynote speech at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, held on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, as part of the Public Affairs Luncheon organized by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce.
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
A plan to build a $12.2 million Classroom and Office Building for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s School of Medicine in Edinburg will be considered in Austin when the University of Texas System Board of Regents meets on Monday, February 26, 2018 and Tuesday, February 27, 2018, according to Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. Once finished, with the substantial completion date projected for November 2019, the School of Medicine Classroom and Office Building will increase enrollment at the Edinburg campus from 100 to 200 students within one year of completion. The construction could begin as early as September 2018. “This facility is necessary to accommodate current and expected growth in the School of Medicine while maintaining the mission of the school as a catalyst for education in health care,” states the executive summary provided to the UT System Board of Regents by UT System leaders. “The building will house faculty and administrative offices, small group study spaces for the growing medical student population, flexible and general purpose classrooms, conference rooms, and support spaces.” The proposed project will be an extension of the existing $54 million, 88,260 gross-square-foot Medical Education Building, which opened in the summer of 2016, when the first class of future physicians began their advanced studies in Edinburg. The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of Mayor Richard Molina, Mayor Pro-Tem David Torres, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr., Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, and Councilmember Jorge Salinas. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of City Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez as President, Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Isael Posadas, P.E., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Julio César Carranza and Noé Sauceda, Ph.D. as Members. Canales represents House District 40, of which UTRGV and its School of Medicine have major campuses in the heart of Edinburg.
Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, left, is interviewed by Mark Hanna, Publisher, Rio Grande Guardian, on Thursday, January 25, 2018, at Bob’s Steak and Chop House in Edinburg. The two men discussed numerous major issues relating to the Texas Legislature, South Texas, and Hidalgo County. That conversation, which was broadcast live and is available on the Rio Grande Guardian, which is South Texas’ first online newspaper, is available at no cost by logging on to: https://www.facebook.com/rgguardian/videos/1800590286640933/?sid=0.46409932360984385 .
Photograph By STEVE TAYLOR
National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)/Texas, the state’s leading small business association, has announced that Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, is the only state legislator from Hidalgo County – and only one of three Democrats in the Texas Legislature – who earned a perfect 100 percent rating on key measures of vital importance to small businesses in the state. “Small businesses are the life blood of our South Texas economy, and I will always make an effort to support policies that help small businesses grow, operate, and flourish,” said Canales, the House District 40 lawmaker. “I invite anyone who has ideas to help small businesses to contact me with their vision, and I will help them learn about and become part of the state legislative process.” He may be reached at his House District Office in Edinburg at (956) 383-0860 or at the Capitol at (512) 463-0426. House District 40 includes portions or all of Edinburg, Elsa, Faysville, La Blanca, Linn, Lópezville, McAllen, Pharr and Weslaco. “These distinguished lawmakers understand and value the true backbone of Texas’ economy, small business owners, and the impact public policy changes will have on these owners’ abilities to own, operate, and grow their businesses,” said NFIB Executive Director Will Newton. “Lawmakers who vote with small business during session are fulfilling their campaign promises to keep the Texas economy robust, as small businesses account for 99.8 percent of all businesses in the state.”
Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, recites the Pledge of Allegiance on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives at the Texas Capitol in Austin. In an effort to help South Texas residents better understand the pros and cons of building a new Hidalgo County Courthouse, the House District 40 lawmaker has submitted a series of questions, which Canales has received from his legislative constituents, to Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García. García has been the main supporter of a current plan favored by the county judge to build a new courthouse, whose cost could reach $150 million, in downtown Edinburg, next to existing Hidalgo County Courthouse.
Photograph By HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY
Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, an attorney whose House District 40 features much of Edinburg, including the downtown region, in a January 16, 2018 letter to Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia, has submitted concerns from citizens. “There is little doubt that our current courthouse is not adequate for the actual needs of this community, yet I believe we need to work together to clarify misconceptions that seem to be circulating around the area,” Canales stated in his letter to García. “I have a series of questions that I have been asked by Hidalgo County residents that I would like answered in writing to help my constituents and myself become more comfortable with this project.” Canales said as he receives the responses – on the county judge’s official letterhead – to the specific questions from citizens, he will share those answers in follow-up news releases from his legislative office and postings on social media. “It is much better to get Judge Ramón García on the record on these important questions which continue to be asked by the community, show his answers to the people, and let the chips fall where they may,” Canales said. Canales has been deeply involved in introducing and passing state legislation that benefits Hidalgo County residents and county government, including working with Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. Armando Martínez, D-Weslaco, as a joint author in 2015 that resulted in the creation of a special fund to pay for construction, renovation, and repairs to the county courthouse. “Every major issue involving Hidalgo County government and services protecting Hidalgo County residents have been shaped and are reviewed by me,” Canales said. “The current and proposed county courthouse are in the heart of my legislative district, so you can bet that I have been very involved in following this very important development.”
William G. McKinsey, CJIS Biometric Services Section Chief for the FBI, featured right, presents the Biometric Identification Award to, from left, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McGraw, Assistant Director Mike Lesko, Latent Automated Fingerprint Identification System Section Supervisor Jenny Hall, and Latent Prints Section Supervisor Meghan L. Blackburn on July 14, 2017 in Austin. Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, on Monday, January 8, 2018, called on McGraw to work with state lawmakers in order to prevent the planned firing by the Texas Public Safety Commission of 117 commissioned DPS officers in a budget-cutting move. “These 117 officers, who are now slated for downsizings, were all hired as part of the Retire/Rehire Program, which encouraged retired officers to re-enter the Department to help fill the shortage of commissioned officers,” Canales said. “These troopers are some of the most experienced and knowledgeable in Texas, in addition to the fact that they showed an incredible selflessness by coming back to law enforcement when their state needed them. Yet, it now seems that the Department might be forsaking their battle-tested veterans by picking youth over experience.”
Photograph Courtesy FBI
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/