First and foremost, my staff and I would like to say that our thoughts and prayers are with all the families who have been impacted by the severe storms and flooding that have occurred over the past week. Cities and communities across our great state, including several parts of our own district, have borne the brunt of a truly historic natural disaster– and it’s those folks who are in our hearts today.
Final Days of Session
Despite the floods, the House was hard at work during what was the final full week of the 84th Legislative Session. The House and Senate were able to agree on many big ticket items that will aid in the continued prosperity of Texas, and only a few differences remain to be ironed out. A couple of notable pieces of legislation passed in the final days were geared toward ensuring we are spending hard-earned taxpayer dollars wisely. I am proud to have joint-sponsored Senate Bill 9, a fiscally conservative measure that will rein in state spending by curtailing the growth rate of certain appropriations. I was also pleased to see the House pass Senate Bill 19, an ethics reform bill that prioritizes transparency and seeks to eliminate conflicts-of-interest involving public officials.
Recently, the House discussed a bill that effected the Hazlewood Act — an education-benefits program for veterans and their families in our state. I appreciate all the feedback I received from constituents on this issue and shared many of the same concerns with the proposed changes. When it arrived from the Senate, this bill made significant changes to the higher education benefits that have been earned through service by our military men and women. After an emotional debate, my colleagues and I were able to amend this bill with language that kept the program virtually unchanged while agreeing to study the escalating costs attributable to the legacy part of this program. The bill is currently in conference committee with representatives from both the Senate and the House working to finalize the legislation.
The end of May brings with it the end of high school for our East Texas seniors. I’d like to congratulate each and every one of our new graduates on this important accomplishment. Many of you walked the stage this weekend, or will be walking soon, and I want to wish you the best of luck in this new chapter of your life, as well as your future endeavors.
Throughout the Session, many of you have met with my District Director in our “mobile office” in each of the counties I represent. 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 even after session concludes.
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.