With only five weeks remaining in the 84th Legislative Session, our workdays are growing longer and tensions are running high. Here’s an update on what is happening at your State Capitol…

Budget Conferee

I had the distinct honor this week of being appointed by Speaker Straus to represent the House as a member of the Budget Conference Committee. The Budget Conference Committee is composed of ten legislators– split equally between the House and the Senate– who are appointed by the Speaker and Lt. Governor. Members have the final jurisdiction over the unification of funding proposals that differed in the House and Senate versions of the budget. Throughout this process, my main focus will be to ensure that we spend our taxpayer dollars wisely. This committee is fundamental to many of the accomplishments that the 84th Legislature has its sights set on.

Graduation Requirements
The House also passed Senate Bill 149 this week, which would give high school juniors and seniors an alternative route to graduation that does not rely solely on standardized test results. Under the proposed legislation, grades, college entrance exam scores and attendance would all be used as factors when determining whether a student should earn a diploma despite poor performance on state standardized exams.

Accountability and Reform

Earlier this week the House launched an official inquiry into the contracting practices of 11 state agencies. The goal is to investigate any contracting process that differs from the standard competitive bid procedure. Safeguarding the tax dollars of Texans does not simply end with the budgeting process, and my colleagues and I in the House are serious about bringing reform and accountability to the contracting habits of our state agencies.

 

Legislation

Two of my bills passed the House this week, and will now head to the Senate. House Bill 275 defines eggs as a farm product, in order to ensure eggs are exempt when property taxes are calculated; while House Bill 2494, reestablishes the associate auctioneer license. Last session, legislation passed that eliminated the license, and in so doing eliminated associate auctioneer jobs across the state– HB2494 seeks to bring those positions back.

For the convenience of constituents not wanting to travel far from home, the mobile office will continue its regular Wednesday travel schedule throughout the District.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at (936) 634-2762 or (512) 463-0508 if we can ever be of assistance. and remember that our door is always open.