Nehls talks recidivism prevention, drainage and transportation

By R. Hans Miller, News Editor
Posted 7/13/21

Freshman Republican Congressman Troy Nehls (R – Richmond) of Texas’ U.S. House District 22 spoke at two separate events at Perry’s Steakhouse in LaCenterra hosted by the Fulshear …

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Nehls talks recidivism prevention, drainage and transportation

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Freshman Republican Congressman Troy Nehls (R – Richmond) of Texas’ U.S. House District 22 spoke at two separate events at Perry’s Steakhouse in LaCenterra hosted by the Fulshear Katy Area Chamber of Commerce and the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce on July 7 and 8, respectively. During his talk, he spoke about frustrating partisanship, mobility, support for drainage projects and reducing recidivism in prison populations.

“We’re working hard – very, very hard,” Nehls said. “But this is what I’m going to say. People sent me up there to try to get something done. To try to do something. It’s so broken. There is no bipartisanship, or very, very low (bipartisan effort).”

However, Nehls said there have been some opportunities for bipartisan efforts. One such instance is the Second Chance Opportunity for Re-Entry Education – or SCORE Act. The bill, House Resolution 3529, currently has 11 Republican sponsors and six Democratic sponsors in the U.S. House.

Nehls said the idea behind the SCORE Act is to take a successful program he’d instituted as sheriff of Fort Bend County and provide educational opportunities to nonviolent offenders. This provides those prisoners with skills they need to get living-wage jobs in fields such as HVAC and welding, he said. The Fort Bend program was operated in conjunction with Wharton County Junior College, Nehls said.

If passed and signed by President Joe Biden, whom Nehls said has expressed support for the bill, the SCORE Act would authorize the Department of Justice to create a grant program for eligible county jails to establish career and technical training programs across the country.

According to the text of HR 3529, jails with a population of 500 or more inmates or multiple counties working together with that number of inmates or more may submit applications to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance for grant funding for those educational programs.

Nehls said the local program was funded through funding from the Fort Bend County Jail’s commissary, but the federal grants would be funded by DOJ funds if passed.

“I believe my little SCORE bill, this little SCORE Act that I have – I’m really excited about it because I think there’s opportunity to get that to the finish line,” Nehls said.

Nehls said his experience in law enforcement hasn’t kept him from focusing on drainage which he knows is a concern for his district, which includes much of Fort Bend County, including Cinco Ranch, and part of Harris County.

“We requested $20 million to help with the Barker Reservoir,” Nehls said. “… That’s a fraction of what we need, but I said to the Corps of Engineers’ Lieutenant General (Scott Spellmon), I said, ‘Sir, the water has receded on the streets of Canyon Gate, but it hasn’t left the minds of the people there.’”

Nehls expressed frustration that U.S. infrastructure projects such as that for flood mitigation can take six years to move forward while our Canadian neighbors get those projects approved in as little as three years. However, Nehls said Spellmon did say he would work to move projects through the bureaucracy as quickly as he could.

Regarding transportation infrastructure, Nehls said he is working to fund portions of the Highway 36A project to improve mobility in the region.

The Highway 36A project has been talked about for a long time in the Katy area and would connect State Highway 36 south of Rosenberg to State Highway 6 north of Hempstead using a combination of improvements to existing roads and building new roads along the route which is hoped to serve commercial traffic once completed.

“We’re getting the project approved for (Highway) 36A out there in Rosenberg – about $20 million. I feel very good about that,” Nehls said.

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