While many of the schools across our district enjoyed Spring Break this past week, the Texas Legislature was hard at work in Austin. House Speaker Joe Straus announced that next week we will begin bringing bills to the House floor. This is when things really begin to pick up, and that should be especially true during this legislative session where lawmakers have filed more bills than ever before. So as we prepare for the grind of session to get started, here is a look at what’s happening at your State Capitol…

Did you know?
Did you know that you can publicly register your support or opposition to a bill during the legislative process? Each bill is referred to a House Committee, and after it’s referral the bill’s author must present the proposed legislation to the that committee. This is known as “laying out a bill.” When a bill is laid out before the committee, individuals and organizations have an opportunity to testify for or against the bill in front of the committee at the Capitol. Whether you’re an expert in a particular field, passionate about a particular subject, or just a concerned taxpayer, I encourage you to make your voice heard during this legislative session.

Public Education
In last month’s State of the State address, Governor Abbott designated early education as one of the five emergency items to be immediately addressed by the Legislature. I applauded this announcement as prudent and necessary, and have worked tirelessly alongside my colleagues in the House to promote the creation of beneficial legislation that will address the availability of pre-kindergarten education for our youngest students. On that front, the House Public Education committee heard proposals this week that seek to provide incentives for school districts that offer pre-K programs. There are still several other public education issues on the front burner, including standardized testing and school financing. I was pleased to visit with a number of educators this past week and informed them that the House Appropriations Committee has increased the funding allocated to public schools by more than $4 billion for the next biennium. This increase comes in the face of growing enrollment, and will set our state on the path to ensuring our teachers and students have the tools they need to succeed now and in the future.

Mobile Office
District Director Linda Parker will continue hosting our mobile office throughout the month of March. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone to come speak to her in-person regarding any issues or concerns we may be able to assist with. She will be available on March 18th at the Houston County Courthouse Annex from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., and at the Trinity County Courthouse from 1:30 to 4 p.m. She will conclude her month on March 25th at the San Augustine County Courthouse 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.