My office has recently received a number of phone calls regarding the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) and their tentative plan to rent upscale offices in downtown Austin. While my colleagues and I will continue to monitor this recent development, I have serious concerns with the current plan. As the organization responsible for managing one of the nation’s largest public trust funds, I believe TRS should put the needs of their membership above lavish office space.

With that, we’ll dive back into our examination of the interim charges. . .

House Interim Charge: State Affairs

The House Committee on State Affairs is another one of the larger committees in the Texas House with an expansive purview that ranges from public lands and state buildings to cybersecurity and telecommunications. This 13-member committee has been charged with an ambitious interim schedule that includes six charges, which oversee the implementation of ten pieces of legislation.

Of particular interest to our district, this Committee will be monitoring three bills – SB 14, HB 1960, and HB 2422 – related to increasing broadband services in underserved areas. Together these three bills allow rural electric cooperatives to deploy broadband fiber in rural communities using existing electricity easements. Not only will this help increase access to high-speed internet, but will also allow our cooperatives to do so without further encroachment on private property. In a similar vein, the Committee has also been asked to study the security of our state’s electrical grid. Over the next several months, the Committee will monitor the creation of the Texas Electric Grid Security Council and its efforts to facilitate the coordination of best security practices for the electric industry, including generation, transmission, and delivery of electricity.

The House Committee on State Affairs has also been charged with examining legislation relating to the Public Information Act and the Texas Open Meetings Act, and determine if any additional changes need to be made to increase transparency at every level of government.

Reminders

The mobile office is back on the road in the month of February and looks forward to seeing you on the following dates, in the following locations: 9-11 a.m. Feb. 5 at the Leon County Courthouse in Centerville, 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Madison County Courthouse Annex in Madisonville. 9-11 a.m. Feb. 19th at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crockett, or 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton. 9-11 a.m. Feb. 26 at the San Augustine County Courthouse in San Augustine.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact our office if we can help you in any way. Our District office may be reached at (936) 634-2762, or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.

Author

Rep. Trent Ashby
Trent Ashby is honored to be representing District 57 in the Texas House of Representatives. House District 57 includes Angelina, Houston, Leon, Madison, San Augustine and Trinity Counties. He can be reached at (512) 463-0508, (936)634-2762, or by email at trentashby@house.state.tx.us.