Burrows elected to the House Caucus Policy Committee

Fox 34

Austin, TX – Today State Representative Burrows (Lubbock) was elected to the Texas House Republican Caucus Policy Committee by his Republican colleagues for the duration of the 85th Texas Legislature.

The Policy Committee is comprised of sixteen members of the House Republican Caucus. Members of the Policy Committee are responsible for making legislative recommendations in the form of a daily floor report provided to all 95 Republican members of the Caucus. This session the House expects to address such issues as public education, child protection and mental health.

“I’m honored to be asked by my colleagues to join the Caucus Policy Committee and I look forward to being a voice on the Committee for West Texas during the 85th Session. Issues and legislation affecting our rural communities will be my main focus as I work with members of the committee,” said Burrows.

The Texas House Republican Caucus is comprised of all Republican Members serving in the Texas House of Representatives. The purpose of the Caucus is to provide research, education, policy development and other support to our Caucus Members and their staff. The Texas House Republican Caucus works to promote limited government.

Read more here: http://www.fox34.com/story/34347832/burrows-elected-to-the-house-caucus-policy-committee

Rep. Burrows talks dueling budgets, plans for Texas Tech Veterinary School

KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock
Shaley Sanders

LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) – The Texas State House and Senate have released their proposed budgets for 2018 and 2019, and they are billions of dollars apart.

The Senate is proposing a roughly $213.4 billion budget while the House is proposing about $221.3 billion.

District 83 Representative Dustin Burrows said the next step is meeting with agencies and taking a close look at their programs.

“We are going to go through their programs and find out if they are really necessary, if they are needs or wants. We are going to work our way back down to make sure we find something everyone can agree on,” Representative Burrows said.

Some of Representative Burrows’ top priorities are CPS reform, financial support for rural schools, I-27 expansion and making healthcare more affordable.

We asked him if he thinks those goals are still feasible under this proposed budget.

“Absolutely, in fact the House has set aside some money that I think would be a great opportunity to help rural schools,” he said.

“One of the really great line items in the budget right now is the House leadership heard that we need some more veterinarians in this area, and so I am very proud we have a line item in there for a Texas Tech vet school,” Representative Burrows said.

Right now, the only veterinary school in the state of Texas is at A&M.

“We do not have enough large animal veterinarians. The industry is crying out for it. Texas Tech has a phenomenal idea on what they can actually accomplish. It would be more affordable, provide better services,” Representative Burrows said.

When it comes to CPS reform, Representative Burrows said the changes need to start with lowering the case loads.

“The number one thing we have got to do is make sure we have more case workers. Number two, is we have got to pay them more. The House budget actually provide for those things,” Representative Burrows said.

Representative Burrows is also filing bills to make changes when it comes to healthcare.

“The absolute biggest issue that I see overtime is we have stopped being concerned with what the overall cost of healthcare procedures are and in some ways you are price insensitive. In emergency situations you are not going to care what the price is, but in non-emergency situations, if we can get people back engaged as consumers where they actually know what the costs of things are and then we incentivize them to go shop around, over time we will start bringing down healthcare costs,” Representative Burrows said.

“It will be a conservative budget, it will be a budget that is going to grow Texas without raising taxes and it is going to have a lot of good things in there for West Texas and our districts, our schools, our roads and other things that are critical concerns,” Representative Burrows said.

Copyright 2017 KCBD. All rights reserved.

Read more here: http://www.kcbd.com/story/34303949/rep-burrows-talks-dueling-budgets-plans-for-texas-tech-veterinary-school

Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith Talks Politics with Darby, Burrows in San Angelo

San Angelo Live
By: Joe Hyde

SAN ANGELO, TX — The Austin-based non-profit state news website Texas Tribune held a lunch on the Howard College campus at noon today. The main event during the luncheon was a political discussion with Texas Tribune’s publisher Evan Smith and two west Texas state representatives.

Rep Drew Darby of District 72 and Dustin Burrows of Lubbock’s District 83 engaged in a spirited discussion about issues facing the legislature.

Smith began the discussion explaining that the Texas state budget is several billion short. “What are you going to cut?” he asked.

Burrows surprised the audience saying the Texas House budget addresses everything on his plate. “The priorities for my district are funded,” he said. Darby provided color, explaining that the House bill is $5 billion more than the Senate’s.

The legislature meets every two years, in odd years, and this session has just begun, so the representatives have not started “pulling the weeds from the garden,” as Burrows put it.

Smith was quick on his feet, and spoke quickly as the trio explored various issues facing Texas and how those issues match west Texas, or more rural priorities.

Among the issues discussed were budget, foster care, CPS funding, public school funding, school choice, border security, school accountability ratings (the “A through F” grading system of public school campuses), and transgender bathrooms.

Smith saved the transgender issue for last.

Attending the event were who’s who of San Angelo’s political class, including mayoral candidate Brenda Gunter who asked the first question. Last session, the legislature cut property taxes. “Why do citizens here feel like their taxes are still going up?” she asked.

Darby explained the increase in the amount of the statewide Homestead Exemption was only expected to put $100 into the pocket of every Texas family, so the impact was nil on citizens. But, he said, “It dug a hole for us to fill.” Darby said now the legislature needs to find a revenue source or spending cut to fill in for the lost revenue.

Even so, both Darby and Burrows were in favor of the increased Homestead Exemption.

Read more here: http://sanangelolive.com/news/politics/2017-01-19/texas-tribunes-evan-smith-talks-politics-darby-burrows-san-angelo

Texas lawmakers keep close eye on soon-to-be President Trump

Rachel Glaser, Nexstar

AUSTIN (NEXSTAR) — State lawmakers face a big question mark during the 85th Legislative Session as legislators can only wonder how changes at the federal level might impact Texas.

“We watch Washington here very, very carefully because we need to know where they are going to mess things up next,” said State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo.

President-elect Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States in Washington D.C. Friday.

“President-elect Trump campaigned heavily on border security, so hopefully we’ll get indications from that administration and D.C. that they are going to take it over,” said State Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock.

Facing a tight budget, the state could save hundreds of millions of dollars if it relied on the federal government to secure the border. “That would be everyone’s fondest wish,” said Sen. Seliger. “Because are we going to have to put $1 billion of state money on the border, or is the federal government going to do what’s their job?”

The Director of the Texas Politics Project, Jim Henson, said state legislators “either have to trust the federal government or they’re going to have to play a waiting game.”

Henson added, “But certainly, they’re not going to get clear signals in the Texas legislature from Washington D.C. in time for a lot of these decisions to be made, unless we see unusually fast movement from Washington.”

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump waves after arriving for a visit to the U.S. Mexico border in Laredo, Texas, Thursday, July 23, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump waves after arriving for a visit to the U.S. Mexico border in Laredo, Texas, Thursday, July 23, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Another key campaign promise, Trump repeatedly vowed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly called Obamacare.

Trump told the Washington Post Sunday that his Obamacare replacement plan includes “insurance for everybody.”

While the president-elect did not go into details about his plan, the comment suggests Trump could be moving toward universal healthcare. Republican leaders have outlined replacement plans that aim for “universal access,” not necessarily “universal coverage.”

Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders in Washington have suggested rolling back Medicaid expansions made under Obamacare, cutting the federal subsidies and sending the burden back to the states.

“I don’t want to wait on Washington,” Rep. Burrows said. The Republican out of Lubbock said he has some ideas that would allow the state to build its own path toward better healthcare with lower costs.

“And we don’t need D.C’s approval to do anything on that,” Rep. Burrows said.

Texas, which has the highest number of people without health insurance in the country, is one of a handful of states that did not expand Medicaid to help low-income Americans pay for health insurance.

Read more here:


On January 13th, 2017, Representative Dustin Burrows of Lubbock proudly announced his legislative staff for the upcoming legislative session.

Jeramy Kitchen will continue to serve as Representative Burrows Chief of Staff. He is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a B.A. in Political Science. A veteran, Jeramy served as a Military Intelligence Analyst for the U.S. Army and Texas Army National Guard and served two full tours of duty in Iraq. He has previously worked as a District Director for another area legislator. He has long been involved as a Conservative activist in local and state politics. Jeramy is a proud husband to his wife Joanna Kitchen and two beautiful daughters Kylie and Alexis.

“Though not originally from West Texas, I fell in love with the place when I first attended Texas Tech and I find it a privilege to be able to fight for the West Texas values I have such an adoration for down here in Austin”, said Jeramy.

Serving in the House District 83 District Office is Matt Crow. He will continue to serve as Representative Burrows Communications Director. Matt has worked in political communications his entire career to include serving in the Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush administrations. On Capitol Hill, Matt worked for Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour and Texas Congressman Randy Neugebauer.

“Texans — especially West Texans — are a special type of people and I am eager to help Rep. Burrows do the best job he can on their behalf. I am right where I want to be in politics – on the ground, among constituents who have new and helpful ideas to share.”

Representative Burrows has also named Richard Murad as his Legislative Director. A 5-year veteran of the United states Marine Corps, Richard Murad hails from Sugar Land, Texas.  He has served in uniform, studied in, or supported U.S. national security programs in Norway, Turkmenistan, Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan.  Richard is a recently-licensed Texas attorney and obtained his J.D. from Texas Tech University School of Law; Richard speaks Russian, and enjoys history, politics, hunting and the outdoors.

“I hail from Sugar Land, Texas and have lived in six different countries over the course of almost a decade.  Having spent the better part of the last four years in Lubbock as a student–and now a proud graduate–of Tech Law, I am humbled, honored, and excited to play a part in representing the good people of West Texas’ House District 83 in the 86th Legislature of The Great State of Texas.”

Matthew Griego will also be a part of Representative Burrows legislative team and work as a Legislative Aide. Matthew is a graduate from Texas Tech University with a B.A. in Political Science. He worked as an intern in the legislature during his time at Texas Tech. He is an Austin native and is fluent in Spanish.

” As a Texas Tech Alumnus, I am looking forward to work my first legislative session with Representative Dustin Burrows. I am eager to learn many new things during the 85th Legislative Session.”

The final addition to Representative Burrows team is Joanna Kitchen who will serve as an Administrative Aide in the Capitol office. Joanna attended Texas Tech University. She is wife to Jeramy Kitchen and the proud mother of their two daughters to which she has been the caretaker of since they last lived in Lubbock where she worked as the front desk manager for a local women’s gym.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to serve the community which was so great to my young family.” Said Joanna.

On his staff hiring, Rep. Burrows stated, “I campaigned on fighting for West Texas values down in Austin and I believe I have selected the best team to do just that.  I believe my staff brings varying perspectives to issues that are never black and white and will give any legislation I vote on the diligence it deserves in making the best decision for West Texas.”

Dustin Burrows is the State Representative for House District 83. He will be a sophomore legislator and currently represents 6 and a half counties in the West Texas region.

Our View: Burrows’ bill brings plan on extending I-27 back into spotlight

Lubbock Avalanche – Journal

More than 15 years ago, a coalition was formed to initiate a movement to extend Interstate 27 beyond its current route from Lubbock to Amarillo. That coalition became known as the Ports to Plains Alliance and it is comprised of civic, government and business people from across West Texas.

The alliance’s goal was, and still is, to extend I-27 from Lubbock to Laredo on the border with Mexico as an effort to enhance trade in the West Texas region, giving the state and nation another connection as a trade route to Mexico. It is also envisioned as a means of alleviating traffic on Interstate 35 in the eastern and central parts of Texas, one of the busiest thoroughfares in the state.

But despite all the efforts of the alliance, there has been little actual movement in achieving that goal, until now. On Monday, state Rep. Dustin Burrows of Lubbock filed a bill in the Texas House of Representatives to direct the Texas Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study on extending I-27 along the Ports to Plains route.

We applaud Burrows’ action to address this issue and hope it will reignite the alliance’s efforts to see this project come to fruition. Almost two years ago, then-Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson spearheaded an effort to get TxDOT to conduct the feasibilty study, holding several meetings with that agency’s officials. Robertson was also involved in a series of meetings between West Texas officials and businessmen and TxDOT to get feedback on the interstate expansion. TxDOT agreed to conduct the study. But what is the status of that study today?

Burrows’ bill, if it passes through the Legislature, would direct TxDOT to make good on its promise to complete the study. It is not known how much the study would cost. The fact that the state is facing a budget shortfall this legislative session could complicate the issue as the state may not have the funds to forge ahead on this effort. We hope that will not be the case.

And don’t expect the study to be completed right away. When approached about the study two years ago, TxDOT acknowleged it could take several years to complete. Also, TxDOT spokesman Nick Wade said at the time that a study was conducted in the late 1990s, which determined extension of I-27 would cost more than it would be worth.

But things have changed since then. For one thing, I-35 gets more and more congested. Michael Reeves, executive director of the Ports to Plains Alliance, has pointed out that trade with bordering countries has increased and there has been an uptick in energy activities in West Texas. A second trade route to the border would help not only the state, but would give an economic boost to communities along the proposed I-27 extension.

However, even if the study is conducted in a timely manner and it is determined the project makes financial sense, the actual completion of the trade route could take years, even decades. And, who knows what the cost will be? Two years ago, TxDOT said its initial assessment of the project would cost $5.2 billion. That’s billion with a big B. With costs increasing every year for just about everything, that price tag will most likely be even higher if the project becomes a reality.

It’s never been satisfactory that I-27 only runs from Lubbock to Amarillo. Extending the highway southward would allow it to tie in with interstates 20 and 10, which run mostly east to west, giving Lubbock and West Texas even more access to other cities and trade opportunities. The possible economic benefits could be enormous.

We hope the Legislature sees fit to complete this stuck-in-the-mud feasibility study so we can stop guessing at the price tag and the worthiness of the entire project.

Read more here: http://lubbockonline.com/opinion/2017-01-13/our-view-burrows-bill-brings-plan-extending-i-27-back-spotlight

ONLY ON KCBD: Rep. Dustin Burrows lays out legislative priorities for new session

KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

By: Shaley Sanders

LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) – On Tuesday, 181 Texas lawmakers convened at the capital for the 85th legislative session.

This just a day after Comptroller Glenn Hagar announced a significantly smaller budget this session.

KCBD sat down with lawmakers representing West Texans to find out what they hope to accomplish despite the challenges facing them this session.

Over the next three nights, we will take a look at what our area representatives consider top priorities.

District 83 Representative Dustin Burrows’ district includes part of Lubbock County, along with Terry, Lynn, Gaines, Borden, Scurry and Mitchell counties.

Representative John Frullo represents a portion of Lubbock County.

Senator Charles Perry represents Lubbock and 50 other counties stretching from I-10 in the south all way to Childress.

On Monday, Representative Burrows filed a bill to conduct a feasibility study of extending interstate highway I-27 from Lubbock to Laredo.

“At the end of the day, this project, the Ports-to-Plains, has been talked about for many years. We have seen new administration; Trump has said we need big infrastructure packages, big spending, big ideas,” said Representative Burrows.

He said he wants Texas to be ready for this project.

“It gives us an opportunity to have more trucking, more products, more things coming up through the region. I want to get TxDot ready and thinking about what we need to do to be ready if this is in fact one of the big projects that gets designated,” Representative Burrows said.

Representative Burrows said he believes this bill will receive a lot of support.

“It goes to Laredo, so we’ve got south Texas that is going to be interested in it. you’ve got a lot of other representatives that go through that area. Also, you think about I-35 that is horribly congested right now. Hopefully, my I-35 representatives up and down that corridor will see this as an alternative, a relief route to maybe free up some of that congestion, which we are talking about each and every single session,” said Representative Burrows.

Representative Burrows said the legislative budget board is working to determine how much a project like this will cost.

As far as timing, he thinks if they can get this study approved, it should take one to two years, maybe a little longer.

“It just depends on how quickly they can get their arms around what actually needs to be looked at,” he said.

Representative Burrows is also working to do away with all licensed to carry fees.

“Right now, we pay some of the highest in the entire country for a new CHL license. So, DPS is making money off of these fees. I think that is fundamentally wrong. At the end of the day, I think that we need to be as a state paying for it,” he said.

PDF: Burrows lays out plan to extend I-27

PDF: Full text of House Bill 869

Texas’ 85th Legislative Session begins

By: Rachel Glaser

AUSTIN, TX – Lawmakers kicked off the 85th Legislative in Austin Tuesday afternoon.
Speaker Joe Straus was re-elected in a unanimous 150-0 vote by members of the Texas House Tuesday.
First elected in 2009, this will be the Republican’s fifth term as House Speaker.
Once sworn in, Straus stepped up to the podium and delivered a speech to the packed House chamber. Straus discussed his priorities and philosophy for the session.
“Compromise has become a dirty word in politics,” Straus said. “It’s a good word in this House.”
On the other side of the Capitol, lt. Governor Dan Patrick welcomed the state’s 31 senators and their families.
The day before session began, Patrick said he and Straus “will work together well this session.”
Patrick continued, “There is always a little drama during the session, you all know that, between the House and Senate, two different views.”
Patrick is anxious to pass an aggressive and conservative agenda through the Senate.
The director of The Texas Politics Project, Jim Henson said, “The senate has been much more focused on very ideologically driven issues, social issues involved with guns, abortion, and now gay-marriage and gender rights.”
Straus has faced criticism from fellow Republicans who consider him to be too moderate.
Henson said, “The House has been much more focused in recent sessions on economic issues like infrastructure and tax reform.”
Governor Greg Abbott addressed the House and Senate on the opening day of the session and in both chambers the Governor called for unity.
“We may be from political parties but we unite under one Capitol dome,” Governor Abbott said.
All three of the state’s top leaders have said lawmakers need to tackle problems in Texas’ Child Protective Services.
“Obviously CPS, that’s a top priority, you’re going to see a lot of time and energy put into that,” said Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock).
Democrats also named the issue as an important and urgent issue that needs to be addressed. “One [issue] is CPS, obviously,” said Garnet Coleman (D-Houston)
That’s one of the very few areas where there is across the board consensus that something needs to be done and that ‘something’ will probably cost some money.
Gov. Abbott could declare CPS an ‘emergency issue,’ which enables the legislature act more quickly than they would under the normal rules.
The budget is also a top line issue for lawmakers.

Is I-27 in Midland’s future?

San Antonio Express News
By Trevor Hawes

Just one day before the start of the 85th Legislature, efforts to improve transportation in West Texas got a small shot in the arm.

Rep. Dustin Burrows of Lubbock filed a bill Monday seeking to direct the Texas Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study that would see Interstate 27 extend south of Lubbock to Laredo.

The bill supports the activities of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance, a Lubbock-based organization that seeks the conversion of the congressionally recognized ports-to-plains corridor into interstate-grade highway and designated as I-27.

The project is a long time coming. “The ports-to-plains highway has been talked about for as long as I can remember,” Burrows told the Reporter-Telegram.

I-27 is unique among interstates in that its southern terminus does not connect to another interstate. Now is the right time to pursue a feasibility study to get it connected, Burrows said, because pro-infrastructure president-elect Donald Trump will soon take over as the nation’s executive.

“Ideally, once we have a new president, who called for a large infrastructure package to be delivered from the federal government, I want Texas to be in the best place to potentially highlight this project as one of the opportunities to do infrastructure expansion,” Burrows said.

The question on many minds, however, is where I-27 will go. The bill does not lay out the route. “It would be improper for my bill to tell TxDOT what the route ought to be,” Burrows said. “TxDOT needs to determine the route.”

According to a map provided by Ports-to-Plains, the corridor has one of two options at Lamesa: continue south on U.S. Highway 87 through Big Spring or head into Midland via State Highway 349 and continue south on SH 158. Both options meet at Sterling City.

Burrows said he doesn’t have a preferred route but that he has heard the most talk about going through Big Spring with possibly a spur heading through Midland.

Ports-to-Plains President Michael Reeves said Monday that it’s possible both routes could be designated as I-27.

“When you look at what’s happening with I-69 in East Texas, they have a couple of different stretches designated. Same with I-35; you have I-35 east and west in Fort Worth and Dallas,” he said. “I don’t think it would be unprecedented to have both of those segments designated. But that’s why you have a feasibility study — to let the professionals and engineers look at it.”

What might work in Midland’s favor is the Midland-Odessa Transportation Alliance’s push to re-designate the I-14 project’s western terminus. I-14 is the centerpiece of the congressionally approved Gulf Coast Strategic Highway project, known as “Ports to Forts.”

MOTRAN and other organizations support moving I-14’s western terminus from I-10 and U.S. 190 to a point in western Ector County along I-20, then heading south on what is currently SH 158 and U.S. 87 to Brady.

Reeves said having I-27 and I-14 on the same route would be beneficial. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to get two interstates for the price of one. Overlapping them would be a way to stretch that transportation dollar.”

Burrows and Reeves said having I-27 extend completely to Laredo will be important for several reasons, but namely because a large amount of freight transported between the U.S. and Mexico through Laredo along I-35 has created tremendous congestion on that interstate. Having an interstate corridor traveling north-south to the west would serve the entire western United States, particularly fast-growing areas such as Denver.

The potential economic benefits for West Texans can’t be underestimated, Reeves said. He cited a recent TxDOT freight mobility study that determined more than 73 percent of the Texas population and 82 percent of the state’s employment are projected to be located within 5 miles of an interstate by 2040. I-27 could give the whole region a boost, he said.

Burrows offered similar sentiments. “It’s a really good project for West Texas and our industries, including oil and gas. With a new president in place that wants to see new infrastructure come together, I want Texas to be in a position to show I-27 as a great opportunity for that investment.”

The bill is HB 869; to read it, visit www.capitol.state.tx.us.

Read more here: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/state/article/Is-I-27-in-Midland-s-future-10845936.php