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August 2, 2019     The Malakoff News
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August 2, 2019

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Friday, August 2, 2019 - The News - Page 3A By Sen. Robert Nichols Senate District 3 TEXAS-As the last days of summer are fast approaching and you are trying to fit in one last vacation, why not look at some of the exciting destinations in Texas? You can visit the Tex- as Travel Guide online at to find a compilation of attractions and places to stay all across the state, including your Texas State Capitol. Here are five things happening around your state: 1. Redistricting Committee I am honored to be appointed by Lt. Gover- nor Patrick to serve on the Texas Legislature's 2021 Redistricting Com- mittee. When the 2020 decennial U.S. Census is released, the committee will use that information to redraw the bound- aries for Texas Senate and House districts, as well as U.S. Congres- sional districts. We are required by the Texas Constitution to complete this job by the next leg- islative session, which will begin January 2021. If the Legislature is unable to adopt a re- districting plan by the end of the session, the Legislative Redistricting Board, a five member body of statewide offi- cials including the Lieu- tenant Governor, House Speaker, Texas Attorney General, Comptroller and the Land Commis- mmmmm sioner, have 90 days to adopt a plan. I am grate- ful to the Lt. Governor for this appointment and look forward to working with all of my colleagues on this very important task. 2. Dogs on Patios On many days throughout the year, Texans can enjoy a meal with family and friends, including their canine friends, on a restaurant patio. Currently, restau- rants have to comply with stringent rules to allow their patrons to bring dogs with them, often including an appli- cation and a fee. Senate Bill 476, also known as the 'Fido-Friendly Outdoor Dining Act, will go into effect on Sept. 1. This bill lets restaurants allow dogs on their patios without having to pay a fee. A sign stating dogs are allowed must be posted at the entrance; no food can be prepared on the patio; and pets must be able to get to the outdoor area without walking through the restaurant interior; they must be on a leash and not sitting on a chair. As a proud dog owner myself, I was hap- py to co-author this bill. 3. Unclaimed Property Did you know one in four Texans have unclaimed property from forgotten bank accounts, utility refunds and more? Banks and other entities make an effort to reunite this money with its owners, but if they cannot after a certain period, state law mandates the assets be turned over to the Comptroller's office. The Comptroller's Un- claimed Property Divi- sion works diligently to give Texas citizens back what is truly theirs. Ap- proximately, $3 billion in unclaimed property has been returned to its rightful owners in Texas. You can go to the Comptroller's website at .us/up/and type in your name or the names of ing with natural disas- family and friends to see if you or someone you know has money waiting to be claimed. You can also call toll free at 1 (800) 654- 3463. 4. Bills Effective Sept. 1 While many bills passed during the 86th Session went into ef- fect the day they were signed by the Govemor, most did not. Many are delayed until Sept. 1 of the legislative year, or until the next year to give state agencies and the public time to become aware of new laws or changes to cur- rent law. It also marks the beginning of the fiscal year and the new budget cycle, which is important to note as some bills require fund- ing to be put into action. There are 820 bills which go into effect on Sept. 1. Some of these you might recognize, such as Senate Bill 6 which helps provide guidelines for local communities in deal- ters, or House Bill 234 which makes the sale of lemonade and other beverages by children legal without.a permit. 5. Tax Free Weekend As the beginning of the school year draws near, it's time to start thinking about back to school shopping. Timed to help families during back-to-school shop- ping, the annual sales tax holiday will provide customers the ability to buy clothing and school supplies priced under $100 without paying state or local taxes. This year, it will be held Aug. 9-11. The law exempts most clothing, footwear, school sup- plies and backpacks priced under $100 from sales and use taxes. The law also allows layaway purchases of these items to qualify for the sales tax exemption. It's a great time to get pre- pared for the upcoming school year while sav- ing some money in the process. National non-profit groups join together to educate public on the importance of healthy vision for kids Special to The News TEXAS Across the country, many children are beginning a new school year and healthy vision will be critical to a successful academic year. As a child grows, an untreated eye disease or condition becomes more difficult to correct. These can worsen and lead to other serious problems as well as affect reading ability, focus, behavior, person- ality and social adjust- ment in school. Vision problems that can affect children include Am- blyopia, ("lazy eye"), Strabismus, ("crossed eyes"), and the most common forms of re- fractive error: myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsighted- ness). For the second year in a row, Prevent Blind- ness and the National Optometric Association (NOA) are teaming up to declare August as Children's Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month to educate par- ents and caregivers on the steps that should be taken to ensure that students are provided with the best oppommi- ty to have a successful school year through healthy vision. To help educate par- ents and in celebration of its tenth anniversary, the National Center for Children's Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness is offering the newly revised "Guide to Vision Health for Your Newborn, Infant, and Toddler." This, no-cost comprehensive resource offers information on a variety of topics, includ- ing common milestones for visual development, how to help your ba- by's vision to develop, warning signs of pos- sible vision problems, and more. The earlier a vision disorder can be identified and treated, the stronger start to learning and develop- ment a child will have. A child may be at higher risk of develop- ing a vision problem if he or she: Was born premature- ly (less than 32 weeks completed gestation.) Has a family history of vision disorders, such as childhood cataract, amblyopia (may also be called lazy eye), misaligned eyes, eye tumors, or wore glasses before first grade. Has had an eye injury (problems result- ing from childhood eye NEN S and Safety Awareness Month. To download a copy of the Guide to Vi- sion Health for Your Newborn, Infant. and Toddler or for more information on chil- dren's eye health and safety, the NCCVEH, or financial assistance programs, call Prevent injuries may develop innovation in eyelid donation to Prevent Blindness at (800) much later in life.) hygiene and ocular Blindness in support of 331-2020 or visit pre- Has been diagnosed health, will make a Children's Eye Health i n s Direct Line (903)887-TIRE. Open M-F 7.30 6.00, Sat. 7:30-3:00 with a problem that could affect his or her physical, mental and/or, emotional development. "By diagnosing and treating vision problems early, we can actually help prevent vision loss later in life," said presi- dent of the NOA, asso- ciate professor at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry, and volunteer member of the Prevent Blind- ness Scientific Advisory Committee Dr. Sherrol A. Reynolds. "Vision is so instrumental in how a child develops, that by ensuring all of our children have access to quality eye care ser- vices, we are helping build a brighter future. Prevent Blindness partner, OCuSOFT Inc a privately-held eye and skin care company dedicated to Opened in May 2008 designed aick service for their vehMes delivered by qualified wofessionats with high-quality results. 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