Here’s an update from your State Capitol…
With committee assignments finalized, the real work of this 84th Legislative Session is now beginning in earnest. From our first look at appropriation requests to our mission to help active and retired educators, here’s an update from your State Capitol…
First Appropriations Meetings
The House Appropriations Committee is wasting no time in getting to work on our state budget. This week the committee met for three days and received a general overview of the finance request from various state agencies. Budget-writing is a unique process, and the experience I gained on this committee during the last legislative session will go a long way in enabling me to best serve the needs of rural Texas. The Appropriations Committee is known for its early morning meetings and heartfelt debates, and I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and working with fellow committee members to ensure we are spending our tax dollars in a manner that is both efficient and effective.
Teacher Retirement System
Over the past few weeks, I have been contacted by many active and retired teachers throughout our district who have shared their concern about finding a long-term solution for stabilizing the Teacher Retirement System. Protecting and improving the retirement and benefits of both our active and retired teachers continues to be a top priority for me. During the last legislative session, we worked to pass a major bill that shored up TRS retirement benefits for future generations and provided a cost-of-living adjustment for those retirees who needed it the most. While the TRS fund is now actuarially sound, there is still much work to be done, including thoughtful and intentional action by the Legislature to make sure that our retired teachers have access to quality and affordable healthcare.
Lufkin/Angelina County Day
On February 11th we celebrated Lufkin/Angelina County Day at our State Capitol. Many of you made the long trip to Austin to be with us, and I can’t thank you enough for helping make the day a huge success. We were able to hear from some great guest speakers including: Colonel Steve McCraw, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety; Luis Saenz, Director of Governor Abbott’s Appointments Office; and Dan Finch, Legislative Affairs Director for the Texas Medical Association. These folks helped lead discussions on rural healthcare, border security and several other issues that deeply affect our district.
Our District Director, Linda Parker, will be at the Houston County Courthouse on February 18th from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and that afternoon at the Trinity County Courthouse from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. She will end the month at the San Augustine County Courthouse on February 25th from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
As always, my staff and I are available during the week at (936) 634-2762 or (512) 463-0508. Please do not hesitate to call if we can ever be of assistance, and remember that our door is always open.
Representative Trent Ashby