Our Victories 

"Just as we come together as a community to build a better Texas, we should also celebrate our victories together." - State Rep. Mike Villarreal


While I've worked with my colleagues on a broad array of policy issues, here is a sample of some of my personal accomplishments at a state legislator.


Investing in Education


Expanded pre-kindergarten access for foster children (included HB 482 in SB 758 in 2007).


Improved safety measures in schools that are in close proximity to railroad tracks (SB 1504, companion to HB 1345 in 2007).


Promoted recess in elementary schools (HB 366 included in SB 530 in 2007).


Enabled the Legislature to pass a property tax cut for seniors without reducing state aid to poor school districts (Amendment to HB 5 in 2007). 


Required recipients of the Train our Teachers scholarship from the Child Care Development Fund to perform their training at the campus of a low-performing school with a disadvantaged population (HB 1309 in 2001).


Authorized the Texas Workforce Commission to make grants available for workforce development boards to design and implement regional child-care solutions (HB 1348 in 2001).


Required each institution of higher education to assist community college and transfer students by publishing its practices on transferring course credits (HB 1359 in 2001).


Required the Higher Education Coordinating Board to complete a periodic comprehensive statewide plan to ensure the current and future needs for adequate higher education services are met in each region of this state (HB 1799 in 2001).


Ensured funds designated to improve the quality of child care are used for that purpose (HB 2673 in 2001).


Helped to establish the Texas Tomorrow Fund II college savings program (HB 3900 authored by Rep. Morrison in 2007).


Helped to expand high school dropout prevention programs (HB 1609 authored by Rep. Crownover in 2007).


Helped to increase teacher salaries (amendment to HB 1 authored by Rep. Noriega in 2007).


Preserved the Top Ten automatic college admissions policy that has expanded access to state universities for students from traditionally under-represented communities (blocked SB 101 in 2007). 


Preserved in-state tuition for all Texas high school graduates regardless of immigration status (helped blocked HB 159 in 2007).


Added information on pre-kindergarten eligibility and enrollment in letters to students' parents about the school lunch program (worked with Texas Department of Agriculture in 2007).


Distributed information to San Antonio high schools about the Top Ten automatic college admissions policy.


Value Work and Aspiration


Led the successful effort to persuade the state Health and Human Services to increase reimbursement of non-profit clinics providing family planning services to low-income women.


Reduced the likelihood that workers filing their tax return will unknowingly take out high-cost predatory loans by establishing a "truth in advertising" requirement and state oversight of businesses providing tax Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) (HB 1344 in 2007)


Ensured that more of the thousands of working Texans will claim their share of the $1 billion in federal tax refunds that they are leaving behind in Washington each year.


  • Required the state to inform Texans on public assistance about the Earned Income Tax Credit and free tax preparation opportunities (HB 630 included HB 401 in 2005). 
  • Distributed information about the Earned Income Tax Credit and free tax assistance through public schools in San Antonio.
  • Extended free tax preparation information to parents who owe child support in order to maximize their tax refunds and payments of child support obligations (HB 401 in 2005). 

Provided a safe and effective way for employers to establish on-site child care for their employees (HB 1385 in 2007).


Improved workers compensation reporting requirements (HB 1772 attached to state budget as an amendment in 2007).


Authorized the creation of a Medicaid health literacy pilot program and health care funding districts (HB 2463 in 2005).


Required consideration of former foster children for appointment the Family and Protective Services Council in order to ensure that those most impacted by the system have a voice in shaping it. (HB 404 in 2005).


Required the Work and Family Policies Clearinghouse to encourage employers to provide dependent care benefits to their employees (HB 1020 in 2003). 


Required the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services to study children's protective services and develop recommendations for improvement (HB 2058 in 2003).


Improved tracking of the employment of former job assistance recipients to ensure program success (HB 1243 in 2001).


Required the Texas Workforce Commission to establish a child-care resource and referral network (HB 1307 in 2001).


Empowered the Attorney General to collect overdue child support for single parents (Amendment to SB 228 in 2007).


Smart Government


Paved the way for qualified nursing schools to establish much-needed RN education programs in Texas by eliminating conflicting state regulations (HB 2165 included in HB 2426 in 2007). This legislation will enable a local San Antonio school to educate an additional 150 nurses per year in the future.


Facilitated cost-cutting bussing collaboration between school districts and public transit (HB 1620 included in HB 3928 in 2007).


Establish greater oversight of corporate tax breaks by requiring the Comptroller to report on the jobs created by certain tax incentives (Amendment to HB 2994 in 2007).


Blocked legislation that would have created unfair distortions in our property tax system (HJR 35 in 2005).


Assisted hundreds of constituents to overcome obstacles to enrolling in CHIP, Medicaid, food stamps and other programs.


Helped local elder care providers, anesthesiologists and others receive timely payments from HMOs.


Helped parents resolve problems faced by their children incarcerated in TYC facilities.


Helped constituents navigate state bureaucracies to save their small businesses and obtain professional licenses.


Clean Air, Water and Energy


Helped lead a successful effort to persaude the state Public Utility Commission to adopt a groundbreaking plan for building renewable energy transmission lines to connect wind and solar energy sources to Texas cities.


Promoted energy conservation in schools (passed an amendment to SB 12 in 2007 but the amendment did not become law).


Contributed to the state's highway beautification effort by prohibiting new off-premises billboards along U.S. Highway 281 in Bexar County (HB 1248 in 2005).


Preserved citizens' ability to effectively petition the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to protect the Edwards Aquifer and other natural resources.  (Blocked HB 2877 in 2003).


Additional Community Issues


Secured the placement of a railroad crossing on Dora Street in San Antonio in order to improve the safety of residents. 


Assisted communities concerned with public safety to close bars that were violating state law.


Trained over 1,000 citizen-advocates on how to influence state government in "Legislative Leaders" workshops.