Rotary Club of Sugar Land and Exchange Club of Fort Bend Honor Law Enforcement Officers

By ELSA MALAKOFF MAXEY

A special law enforcement appreciation luncheon at Sugar Creek Country Club on May 25, with District 18 Texas State Senator Lois Kolkhorst as guest speaker, proved to be a treat for members and guests of the Sugar Land Rotary Club and the Exchange Club of Fort Bend. (ECFB).

Attendance at the joint meeting was an impressive representation of the community with Dr. Suleman Lalani from the ECFB opening the event by paying tribute to the critical public safety sector of the community.

Darla Alston, president of the Rotary Club of Sugar Land, wrapped up the celebratory event for those who answer a demanding call to public service with the Meaningful and Appropriate Four-Way Test and Covenant of Service, inspiring communities to become better places to live, was presented by Doug Earle, Exchange Club District President.

Kolkhorst highlighted the work of the 87th legislative session as well as the three special legislative sessions held during the legislature. But not before mentioning the mass shooting at Uvalde primary school.

“Crime Prevention, Law Enforcement and Appreciation,” the title of the program, “says a lot,” Kolkhorst said. “I come to you today with a heavy heart,” and she asked those present to pray for the community in Uvalde, South Texas, “we mourn for Uvalde.

“Take a moment to pause and ask why our society has such a hard time among us,” she asked, also stating that she grew up in a time when law enforcement was not part of the running a school and where guns were just as easy. to come back later.

“Ask yourself the question, why is our society becoming more and more evil and dark.” Kolkhorst praised organizations like Rotary, the Exchange Club, and many nonprofits touching lives, volunteering, raising money for great causes, “that’s part of what we need to do.” Family discussions, she says, are important. “We have to have a family, we have to have someone who loves you, who tells you when you’re right and corrects you when you’re wrong.”

In recognition of “our best,” Kolkhorst said Fort Bend County stands out as a leader in Texas “and it’s a great county now.” She noted that the last session was important for law enforcement, as 10 major bills had been passed, including one regarding bail reform out of concern for criminals engaging with personal obligations. Magistrates are now getting tools to help them set bail, and there will be a way to track judges to see what type of bail they are setting. It was Senate Bill 6.

And Senate Bill 23, not in response to Fort Bend, but in relation to Travis County and cities across the country that want police funding, requires that such action by a city or d County Seeks Voter Approval to Reduce Law Enforcement. This was accomplished as part of a bipartisan effort, Kolkhorst said.

HB 133 which Texas House Representative Jacey Jetton and Senator Kolkhort sponsored with other lawmakers resulted in Caleb Rule’s law affecting children of law enforcement and public safety personnel killed in the exercise of their functions. Family survivors under the age of 25 will receive free tuition. Another measure concerned DPS officers, whose patrol cars will be equipped with bulletproof windshields to help protect their lives.

Then Kolkhorst talked about property taxes. They will now have compressed rates. This means that a city in Texas cannot charge a homeowner more than 3.5% more than the previous year. Prior to Senate Bill 2, that number was 8%. As for the school districts, they can only increase the amount of the tax by 2.5% more than the previous year. That won’t mean schools will get less money, but less money will be taken away from the owner, Kolkhorst said. “Texas will dedicate more of its general funds to this,” she said.

Kolkhorst said she will have two major goals in the upcoming session. One is to reduce property taxes. Voters approved a homestead exemption measure increasing the amount from $25,000 to $40,000. “We still have to do better,” she said. For the exemption for over 65s, the compression will also have an impact on the tax amounts.

“The American dream is to own your part of the world and that makes the United States of America and Texas different from the rest of the world. We cannot tax you out of your home,” Kolkkorst said.

She went to the power grid. “Our number two goal is to increase base load with thermal generation.” She said that means natural gas. Kolkhorst conceded that for those who love green, solar power, “I’m with you, but when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining,” that’s a whole different story. Batteries made from lithium and nickel cells come from China and Russia and are needed for green energy.

“Texas is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. They have great crude, we have great natural gas, and the technology to increase baseload. Kolkhorst said there were more than 24 power grid bills in the last session.

She is chair of the health and social care committee and said during the peak of the Covid pandemic she received constant calls from carers unable to see their loved ones in nursing homes as they were locked down in accordance to state and federal governments. guidelines. She said: “Older people were dying, not of Covid, but of loneliness, they died alone. We are a better society than that. Kolkhorst, one of the authors of the bill to fix the resulting isolation of the elderly, said essential carers will now have access to long-term facilities and elderly people will not stay longer than 10 days without seeing a loved one. The focus will then shift to hospitals.

Border security, a big deal to take nearly $4 billion to secure the border, is what Texas has pledged to impact on what Kolkhorst called “human trafficking and of drugs because of the opening of the border”. It is a modern version of slavery that we must tackle. The nation and the current administration do not. She shared the May 11 stats of the border opening from the testimony of a Texas DPS director…all happening in his senatorial district:

In southwest Fort Bend County, a Honduran was shot 9 times by Gulf Coast cartel agents for losing two shipments of trafficked migrants.

On May 6, a broken down truck, 90 miles outside of Houston on US 59 in Jackson County, was reported to law enforcement and 70 to 100 immigrants were found in a trailer; 32 were apprehended, many fled to the fields and thermal borescopes could not help locate them as they stopped working due to the heat. Kolkhorst said some may be dead and could be discovered while harvesting the field. “It’s inhuman, they were in the back of a truck without water. We have to be better.

On March 28, the Wharton County Sheriff’s Office stopped a vehicle with 15 immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador. Fourteen of them were captured.

DPS April 14 statistics show that 1,139 pounds of the synthetic opioid drug, fentanyl, were seized; the amount seized was enough to kill 258,290,372 people. In America, there are just over 300 million people. “The single fentanyl we seized crossing the southern border from Texas was enough to kill 258.2 million people.”

This part is going to take a massive effort to slow that down,” Kolkhorst said.

“Can you imagine what is happening further south?”

On the legislative scene, school districts in Texas, like Fort Bend ISD with declining enrollment due to the Covid pandemic, will be given a “put off” result, meaning their funding will not be declined for declining enrollment.

As for higher education, the University of Houston at Sugar Land received a $52.4 million transfer to it influenced by Kolkhorst, whose district now includes Sugar Land. And Texas State Technical College at Rosenberg will receive $41.8 million for campus expansion. She said Texas State Technical College is about the skills that will bring jobs back to America.

With the redistricting, Kolkhorst said, “I got more Sugar Land, I was sad to lose Katy, Fulshear, Needville and Wharton County, and Jackson and Colorado counties.” She said Jackson and Colorado counties went to Senator Joan Huffman.

First Assistant DA Ibrahim Khawaja, representing Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton, presided over the presentation of deserving awards at the appreciation luncheon.

“We’re here for crime prevention and law enforcement,” he said, noting that at the Fort Bend DA office, “we stand for law enforcement,” and he also added: “we don’t believe in defunding the police, we believe in defunding the police properly. ”

Winners of the 2022 program:

Krystan Rivera, Rosenberg, PD – Public Safety Specialist (TCO)

Detective Charles Willeby – Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office

Officer Daniel Barbarick and Officer Demarcus Mitchell – Sugar Land Police Department

Deputy Timothy Mordecai – Harris County Sheriff’s Office

Officer Amber Khan – Houston Police Department

sergeant. Aaron Kaspar – Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office

Detective Blair Cerny – Memorial Villages PD

Corporal Sidney – Slawson – Angleton Police Department

Ashley Harkness and Craig Priesmeyer – Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office

Deputy Richard Riden – Brazoria County Pct 1

Rachel J. Bradford