|Texas State Representative for District 114 (Dallas County)|
January 8, 2013
|Preceded by||Will Ford Hartnett|
March 26, 1971 |
Dallas, Texas, United States
|Children||Two daughters, one son|
|Alma mater||University of Texas School of Law|
Jason Villalba (born March 26, 1971) is an attorney with the law firm Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP in his native Dallas, Texas. He also is a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives from District 114 in Dallas County.
As a child, Villalba became interested in the televised speeches of U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan. According to an interview in D Magazine, Villalba saw an improvement in his own family's economic standing during the Reagan administration: "We could actually go on a vacation. Things changed for us for the better." As a result, Villalba became a Republican at an early age. Unlike many Texas Republicans, he is not a former Democrat.
A fourth-generation Texan, Villalba graduated from South Grand Prairie High School in Grand Prairie in the Mid-Cities section of Dallas, Ellis, and Tarrant counties. He then studied economics and finance at Baylor University in Waco and subsequently earning his law degree from The University of Texas School of Law in Austin. A corporate partner at Gardere since July 2015, Villalba represents clients in a wide array of corporate transactions, including mergers, acquisitions and divestitures of public, private and middle-market companies; venture capital and private equity financing transactions; and transactions involving emerging growth and technology companies. He formerly practiced law at Haynes and Boone LLP.
Villaba is a member of the Dallas Children’s Trust, the fund-raising mechanism for the Children's Medical Center. He has also served on the development committee for the Dallas Zoo. He became the chairman of the Dallas chapter of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, a political outreach organization founded in 1967. Through this capacity be became a supporter of Mitt Romney in the 2008 presidential campaign. Four years later, Romney repaid the favor, while on a stop in Texas, he took time to endorse Villalba in the state House primary. Romney called him "a capable and effective leader." Romney made no other endorsement of this kind while running for president for a second time in 2012.
When Republican Representative Will Ford Hartnett did not seek reelection after twenty-two years in the legislature, Villalba won the Republican nomination in a contested runoff election in District 114. His opponent, Bill Keffer of Dallas, had been from 2003 to 2007 the representative in District 107. Bill Keffer is the brother of still-serving District 60 Representative Jim Keffer, a Republican from Eastland, near Abilene, Texas.
In addition to the support from Mitt Romney, Villalba was endorsed by then U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who said, "Jason Villalba is a hard-working, forward-thinking leader who we can depend on to lead for today and for the next generation of Texans." She also referred to Villalba as "the future."  Hutchison made no other endorsement of a candidate in 2012, when she was succeeded in the Senate by Ted Cruz.
In the May 29 primary, the 1,138 votes (11.4 percent) polled by David Boone were sufficient to require a second round of balloting on July 31 between Keffer, who led with 4,745 votes (47.5 percent), and Villaba, who finished with 4,114 ballots. (41.2 percent).
In the Republican runoff, held along with the Ted Cruz-David Dewhurst contest to choose the nominee for Hutchison's U.S. Senate successor, Villalba reversed the order of finish to defeat Keffer by a narrow margin, 6,100 (51.8 percent) to 5,683 (48.2 percent). Villalba attributed his victor over Keffer to "shoe leather and determination".
In the general election, Villalba defeated Democratic former Representative Carol Kent, 33,970 votes (54.2 percent) to 28,762 (45.8 percent). In the 2008 general election, Kent had unseated Republican Representative Tony Goolsby of Richardson in the neighboring District 102. She served one term from 2009 to 2011, having been unseated in 2010 by the African-American Republican Stefani Carter, who was since defeated for reelection.
Villalba serves on the House committees on (1) Business and Industry and (2) Economic Development.
In 2013, Representative Villalba voted with the majority in both legislative houses to require enhanced safety standards in clinics performing abortions and to forbid the practice after twenty weeks of gestation. State Senator Wendy Davis of Fort Worth staged a nationally-watched filibuster against these measures, which have since been signed into law by Governor Rick Perry.
Villalba voted against term limits for the statewide constitutional officers, including the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the attorney general. The measure died, 61-80, in the House. Villalba voted to forbid the use of state funds to enforce national gun-control laws. He voted to reduce the required hours for concealed handgun training courses. He supported the authorization of concealed handguns on college campuses. He voted to establish school marshals.
In other legislative votes, Villalba a supported a bill to forbid texting while driving; it has not been enacted. He co-sponsored the extension of the exemption of certain businesses from the franchise tax.
In his second month as a legislator, Villalba drew the opposition of conservatives opposed to implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act when he conceded, with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in June 2012 to uphold the federal health law as constitutional, that Texas should consider all available options in determining whether to implement state health-insurance exchanges to create a marketplace for those individuals without health coverage. Michael Quinn Sullivan, the president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, said that the state should do nothing to help implement the federal law. In The Dallas Morning News, Gromer Jeffers wrote, "Villalba said he was disappointed with the tone and vitriol of some of his conservative critics. He stressed that he’s against the affordable health care law, but realizes that it's [opposition to the law] not going anywhere."
In December 2014, Villalba introduced HJR55, a resolution calling for an amendment to the Texas Constitution to protect freedom of religion. The measure would simultaneously strike down non-discrimination laws at the city and county level throughout Texas. The resolution was opposed by Democrats, Republicans, and business leaders and was eventually withdrawn. Eric Nicholson of the Dallas Observer stated that Villalba proposed the amendment in "direct response to Plano's new LGBT protections."
On March 10, 2015, Villalba introduced a bill that criminalizes photographing, recording, or documenting police officers from closer than 25 feet, or 100 feet if photographer has a concealed handgun license. Exceptions are made only for registered representatives of major new media organizations. House Bill 2918 may conflict with the 2011 U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruling, Glik v. Cunniffe, which states that citizens have right to record police in action. The bill has been described as follows: "Villalba’s bill would also make it illegal for private citizens to record their own interactions with police officers. In fact, the language is so broad, in prohibiting “documenting” the police officer’s activities, that taking notes during a conversation with an officer, about what was being said, the officer’s badge number, etc., could be construed as a violation." After heavy criticism about the bill on social media, he became the subject of a Dallas Observer blog about his blocking on Twitter of critics or even reporters asking questions.
Villalba opposed the Tea Party movement, which seeks to end sanctuary cities: "We just don't have the time in 140 days to deal with the big-ticket issues and also pander to a small percentage of movement conservatives." 
Villalba is a legislative ally of Joe Straus, the Moderate Republican Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives from San Antonio. In 2014, Villalba predicted, correctly as it developed, that the Texas Senate uner Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick in 2015 would be "the most conservative in state history." He warned that a number of bills coming from the Senate would be killed by the more liberal House. Villalba said that the Straus forces would "obstruct Senate-passed reforms [through] the House Calendars Committee, where conservative bills will be strangled in the cradle."
Villalba won renomination in the Republican primary on March 1, 2016 over challenger Dan Morenoff, 11,436 votes (55.2 percent) to 9,300 (44.8 percent).
- "Jason Villalba's Political Summary". votesmart.org. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
- "Jason Villalba". lrl.state.tx.us. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
- "Adryana Boyne. Jason Villalba, A Rising Star in Politics and Already on the List of Legislators to Watch". texasgopvote.com. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
- "Zac Crain, Is Jason Villalba the Future of the Texas GOP? Meet the only political candidate that Mitt Romney has endorsed". D Magazine. October 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
- "High-Profile Corporate Lawyer and Texas State Representative Jason Villalba Joins Gardere in Dallas". Gardere.com. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
- "Bill Keffer". lr.state.tx.us. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
- "U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison endorses Jason Villalba". Texans for Jason Villalba. April 11, 2012. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
- "Senator Hutchison Headlines Fundraiser for Jason Villalba". Texans for Jason Villalba. July 16, 2012. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
- "Republican primary election returns, May 29, 2012". elections.sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
- "Republican primary runoff election returns, July 31, 2012". elections.sos.state.us. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
- "General election returns, November 6, 2013". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
- "2008 Texas general election returns". elections.sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
- "Jason Villalba". haynesboone.com. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
- "Wendy Davis Filibuster". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
- "Texas SJR 13 - Establishes Term Limits For Certain Elected Officials". votesmart.org. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
- "Gromer Jeffers, Sr., Dallas state Rep. Jason Villalba draws fire from conservatives over health care law, February 4, 2013". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
- "A constitutional amendment relating to a person's free exercise of religion". Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
- "Lawmaker reconsiders 'religious freedoms' bill after business opposition". Houston Chronical. 2015-03-10.
- "Dallas State Rep. Jason Villalba Wants to Restrict Where Citizens Can Photograph Cops". Dallas Observer. 2015-03-13. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
- Texas Legislature Online, Bill: HB 2918
- "Texas Bill Would Make Recording Police Illegal". Huffingtonpost.com. 2015-03-13. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
- Wilonsky, Robert (March 13, 2015). "Dallas state Rep. Villalba drawing fire for proposal that criminalizes ‘cop-watching’". The Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas). Retrieved March 13, 2015.
Villalba’s bill would also make it illegal for private citizens to record their own interactions with police officers. In fact, the language is so broad, in prohibiting “documenting” the police officer’s activities, that taking notes during a conversation with an officer, about what was being said, the officer’s badge number, etc., could be construed as a violation. Besides the fact that law enforcement agencies themselves have acknowledged the role that cameras can play in reducing both incidents and false claims of police brutality — as evidenced by the rising support for police body cameras — this bill directly contradicts established case law precedent allowing citizens to videotape police.
- Young, Stephen (2015-03-20). "(Updated) Texas Rep. Villalba Blocks Student Journalist on Twitter For Asking Him a Question | Dallas Observer". Blogs.dallasobserver.com. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
- Patrick Gleason (August 14, 2014). "Meet the Harry Reid of Texas". Forbes. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
- "Republican primary returns". Texas Secretary of State]]. March 1, 2016. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
|Texas House of Representatives|
Will Ford Hartnett
|Texas State Representative for
District 114 (Dallas County)