June 8, 2009

From the desk of Allen Vaught

Legislation Passed in the 81st Legislative Session
As the 81st legislative session has drawn to a close, I want to continue discussing some of the bills that passed the Texas House and Senate. This is the second article in a series of articles about legislation signed by the Governor to date.

Voter Registration
With the passage of House Bill 536, we hope to prevent the disenfranchisement of military personnel, members of the merchant marine, and any other Texas residents temporarily living abroad. This law authorizes a county to use the federal postcard application to register and apply to vote by mail. The applications are currently available to United States citizens through U.S. embassies and consular offices abroad; however, applying to vote by mail through the federal postcard application process has not served as a form of voter registration when the voter returned home from abroad. This legislation helps to remove that obstacle for voters by allowing the federal postcard application to automatically constitute registration for both the federal postcard application and the standard mail-in ballot.

State Board of Education
Current statute allows Texas governmental bodies the option of broadcasting open meetings over the Internet. For the past five years, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has broadcasted the State Board of Education (SBOE) meetings, but only its audio feed. In an effort to create transparency and open up the lines of communication between Texans and their government, House Bill 772 requires the TEA to broadcast open meetings of the SBOE over the internet through both video and audio feed. This change in law will take effect September 1st this year.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) cases are growing in cost at an annual rate of $90 billion. The Autism Society of America estimates that the cost of ASD care could be reduced by two-thirds with early diagnosis and proper intervention. House Bill 1574 establishes a resource center through the Health and Human Services Commission to aid children and adults affected by ASD. A study will also determine the costs and benefits of initiating a pilot program to provide services to adult persons with autism and other related disabilities with similar support needs.

Nutritious Food Program for Children
Texas currently operates several school lunch and breakfast programs for children at risk, however, many children do not have access to such programs or nutritious food after school or if they are under the age of five. When children do not have access to healthy, nutritious foods, their risk of obesity increases. Obese children can develop serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease, often carrying these conditions into adulthood. House Bill 1622 creates a grant program to provide children at risk for hunger or obesity increased access to nutritious food. The grant program will supplement current efforts by non-profit organizations by providing additional assistance.

Diabetes Education
Diabetes is a chronic disease that requires administering insulin and lifestyle changes such as modifying eating habits and increasing physical activity. A person with diabetes who does not have the proper education to manage their disease may have poor health management. A lack of diabetes education can result in blindness, amputation, kidney disease or heart disease. House Bill 1990 increases coverage under the Texas Medicaid program to include a self-management training pilot program for diabetics, without any significant increase in cost to the state. The Health and Human Services Commission will work with the Texas Diabetes Council to provide this training program.

The next article will continue to highlight major legislation which has passed during the 81st legislative session.

As always, please feel free to contact my district office at (214) 370-8305 or my capitol office at (512) 463-0244 if you have any questions regarding state matters. I look forward to hearing from you.

Audelia Library June Update

To: LHHOA Webmasters and Newsletter Editors
From: John Gould gould.john@sbcglobal.net
Re: Audelia Library June Update 6/3/09

June Events Calendar
Audelia Library Teen Center
Book Sale
Self Check-Out

1. June Events Calendar
Due to cost-saving efforts the library branches will no long be providing copies of their monthly calendar of activities. Instead, people will have to try finding the information via the internet. This doesn’t help people who don’t have computer access. As a result our Friends board has decided to put together a one-page sheet with all the activities at Audelia separated into those for children, youth and adults. Copies will be left on our Friends Exhibit Table at the entrance for anyone to pick up. A copy of the June calendar is an attachment to this email.

2. Audelia Library Teen Center
AT&T has given the Dallas Library System a grant to establish Teen Centers in
all the branch libraries. Keely Coghlan, library associate, will be responsible for developing the Audelia Teen Center . On Tuesday, June 16, there will be a “Grand Opening“ event starting at 10:30. Some library stacks are being removed to make room for tables and chairs where teens can spend time with lap-top computers provided by AT&T, and board games such as chess, checkers, etc. There are other programs scheduled in the auditorium.

3. June Book Sale
Our Friends monthly 2-hour book sales have been averaging $120 so they are not only worth our effort but they provide a lot of satisfaction for people who like to browse and find books at a very reasonable price. Book donations are steady and recently we received several items on cross-stitching, other needle-work and also quite a number related to cooking. If you have a request for us to be on the lookout for any specific books, let me know and we can make a note to set then aside for you.
At this point the book sales take about three hours of time from set up to put away. Our board members and a few others have been working the sales. If there are any of you who would like to volunteer to help occasionally, we could consider having book sales more often than once a month. Let me know if you are interested. Our next book sale is Sunday, June 28, 2-4.

4. Self Check-Out
Whenever the check-out line gets too long, remember that there is another option. You can use the self check-out machine located near the book drop-off slot if you don’t owe any penalties for late books. If you know how to use it and there is a long line particularly at closing time, it has been suggested that you might show other people how to use the machine. It is really quick and not complicated. Incidentally, Friends recently purchased a black sign, “Please Form A Line Here”, for the Circulation Desk to clarify where people should line up.

Be sure to log on to our Friends website, www.audelialibraryfriends.org, for the monthly calendar of events and catch any changes that may come about after the calendar is printed. If you have any suggestions please let me know.