March 6, 2009

Calloway's Timely Tip for April Gardeners

Timely Tip for April Gardeners

Calloway’s Nursery offers many organic products to help you develop a “green” environment. We also offer traditional solutions but for the gardener who is exploring the “greener” side here are a few ideas.

It all begins with the soil, so have your soil tested the first of each year FREE at any of our stores. Organic matter is important to the soil composition. It helps with drainage and helps increase the soil microbe population. Expanded shale is also used to break up hard, compacted clay soils. Calloway’s Organic Fertilizer contains seven food-grade meals and can be applied to your lawn and other plantings. Top dress your flowerbeds and containers with our organic mulches. They not only break down slowly putting organic material back into the soil but, they also prevent weeds, conserve moisture and cool the soil during the heat of the summer.

Other organic insecticides and fungicides are Neem Oil, Diatomaceous Earth, Dipel Dust and Insecticidal Soaps. These are products which are safe to use around pets and children. There are also beneficial insects available such as Ladybugs, Lacewings and Beneficial Nematodes! These guys will attack the pests and take care of them “naturally”.

Join us on April 18th, for our Earth Day clinic and learn more about our “natural choices”. Or, go to
for more information on clinics.

March 3, 2009



With severe weather season just around the corner, the American Red Cross needs to train its new Disaster Assessment Response Team. In case of a local disaster, this is the team that would be dispatched to assess the location and extent of residential property damage so that the American Red Cross can determine what humanitarian services are required. The drill involves simulating "damage" by placing small signs with pictures of damaged homes near the sidewalk in front of homes whose owners agree to participate, and then dispatching disaster assessment teams to the area, where they will assess the "damage" simulated by the signs. A total of eight teams, of three people each, will be participating. The drill participants will be easily identified by Red Cross vests and will not impede traffic. Interaction between home-owners and drill participants is not required. The drill will take place between 8am and 4pm on Saturday, March 14. The signs will be placed in the yards at 8am and retrieved by volunteers that afternoon.

Rep. Vaught Named Legislator of the Year

Rep. Vaught Named Legislator of the Year
~ Rep. Allen Vaught Receives Award from the
Association of Texas Professional Educators ~

AUSTIN-- State Representative Allen Vaught (Dallas) will receive the Legislator of the Year Award from the Region 10 Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE) on Saturday, March 7, 2009.

Jackie Davis, the Region 10 ATPE President said, “Representative Vaught is a champion for public schools and we are awarding him with this prestigious award in honor of his service to public schools through his position in the Texas House of Representatives.”

“I am honored to be chosen for this award. Our public schools are the backbone of our community, and I will continue to work hard to support them through my position in the Texas House,” said Rep. Vaught. The award will be presented this Saturday, March 7 during the ATPE Region 10 Convention at the Hampton Inn & Suites at the Mesquite Rodeo Center in Mesquite, Texas.

Rep. Vaught first took office in 2007 and is in his second term representing House District 107. He serves as the Vice-Chair of the Defense & Veterans’ Affairs Committee and is a member of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. He is the managing attorney of the Dallas office of Franklin, Cardwell, & Jones, P.C. Rep. Vaught also served as a U.S. Army Reserve Captain and fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

District 107 covers the area in east Dallas surrounding White Rock Lake--including Lakewood and part of Lake Highlands. The eastern portion of the district covers parts of Garland and Mesquite. He lives with his wife, Donna, their son Jonathan, and daughter Morgan in Lakewood.

For more information, please contact Rep. Vaught’s district office at (214) 370-8305, e-mail him at or visit the Texas House of Representatives website at

From the desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

The Committee Process- Part Two

This article is the second in a two part series discussing the committee process for the Texas House of Representatives. In the previous article, I discussed the changes to the house standing committees for the 81st legislative session. In this article, I will review the house committee procedures, including referral of bills by the speaker, bill analyses, committee meetings and hearings, and the calendars committees.

Referral by the Speaker of the House
After a bill is filed in the Texas House, the Speaker of the House has the responsibility of referring that bill to a particular committee. The speaker will look at a committee's jurisdiction and what code or statute a bill changes in order to decide where a bill should be referred. Additionally, the speaker appoints the members of the House to particular committees and designates who will serve as the committee chair. Once a bill is referred to committee, the committee chair then takes over responsibility for deciding if and when a bill will be heard.

Bill Analyses
Once a bill is referred to committee, the author of that bill may request a bill analysis be prepared by the Texas Legislative Council. The bill analysis will explain, in easy to understand language, the background and purpose of the bill, where the rulemaking authority of the bill may lie if applicable, and will detail the contents and sections of the bill. During this legislative session, a copy of the bill analysis must be provided to each committee member before that bill can be considered.

Committee Meetings and Hearings
There are three different types of meetings a committee may hold. They can either hold a "work session" to discuss legislation but take no formal action, or hold a "formal meeting" or "public hearing" where they may act on legislation. Most of these meetings are open to the public. Public hearings on a bill are posted at least five calendar days in advance, whereas work sessions and formal meetings are only posted two hours in advance. A committee usually does not meet while the House is in session unless approved by a majority vote of the House.

Unlike the Senate rules, the House is not required to hold a public hearing before legislation is considered in committee. If a house committee decides to hold a public hearing they will usually let anyone testify, although sometimes the hearing is limited to invited testimony only. If you are ever interested in attending a committee meeting or hearing, or would like to inquire about testifying in front of a house committee on a particular bill, please contact my office.

A quorum must be present in a House committee for them to take action on a bill. There are several actions a committee may take when a bill is laid before them. They may vote to refer the bill to a subcommittee, leave it pending, or postpone taking action. If the committee is ready to report on the bill, they can either report it favorably or unfavorably. "Reporting" is the final action the committee may take on a bill. If the bill is reported unfavorably, it is essentially killed and has died in the committee. If the bill is reported favorably, then an official committee report is printed, and the bill is either sent to the Local and Consent Calendars Committee or the Calendars Committee to be scheduled for a vote on the House floor.

Calendars Committee
There are two different committees that decide if and when a bill will be scheduled for debate on the house floor: Calendars and Local & Consent Calendars. The Local & Consent Calendars Committee has eleven members who place local and uncontested bills on the House floor schedule. The Calendars Committee has thirteen members and will also schedule bills for floor consideration, but has the responsibility for placing bills on the Emergency, Major State, or General State Calendars as well.

I hope this article helped to clarify and explain some of the House rules and the committee process. This was a brief overview of committee procedures, so if you would like more information, please feel free to contact my district office at (214) 370-8305 or my capitol office at (512) 463-0244. I look forward to hearing from you.