I was absolutely thrilled this week with the UIL performances from House District 19. The Silsbee Tigers did a phenomenal job at the UIL 4A Boys’ Basketball bringing home the championship for the first time in school history. Coach Joe Sigler, my friend and past colleague, is a terrific coach and educator who has built a winning team. A team that includes three UIL All-Tournament Team members; Jordyn Adams, Braelon Bush, and Willie Jones. Jordyn Adams was also recognized as the game’s MVP (Most Valuable Player). The team celebrated their win with a well-deserved crawfish boil.

In addition, Colmesneil and West Hardin in Austin competed in the UIL State CrossExamination Debate. Lindsey Dobbins, Rebecca Schulze, Morgan Belt, and Julius Mabry from Colmesneil visited the Capitol on Monday after their long day of debates at the University of Texas. West Hardin also had four students make it to State; Thomas Peek, Dustin Smith, Selah Cline, and Brett May. Selah Cline and Brett May took home the gold on Tuesday before coming to visit their State Capitol. All of these students are a testament to our Southeast Texas schools and teachers.

On the House Floor, Members debated the controversial House Bill (HB) 62 which seeks a statewide ban on texting and driving. After long debate over two legislative days, the legislation was voted out of the House and will be sent over to the Senate for consideration.

The House Committee on International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs met on Monday to discuss resolutions asking Congress to preserve the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and to consider the removal of trade, financial, and travel restrictions related to Cuba.

The House Committee on Corrections met this week to discuss new legislation, and to vote on previous business of the committee. As the chairman, I laid out one of my bills, House Bill 117, which gives judges more options in mandating the use of ethyl-alcohol monitoring systems for those convicted of intoxication-related driving offenses. As it currently stands, many offenders are able to sign an affidavit to opt-out of a court-mandated ignition interlock system for a number of reasons; paramount on this list, is the lack of a car. An alarming percentage of intoxicated drivers are repeat offenders, who should have had some sort of ethyl-alcohol monitoring device. My bill will allow judges more discretion and provide them with more tools to keep drunk drivers off our Texas roads.

Lastly, I was honored to once again host Chase Culp as my Honorary Page of the Day. Chase has served in this capacity for the past three legislative sessions. This year he was able to gavel in the House Committee on Corrections and to work alongside the Texas House Sergeant at Arms Office. The Honorary Page Program is a great opportunity for any young Texan to participate in and I encourage students in the district to consider participating in the program this session.

The Capitol of Texas belongs to you and visiting the Capitol during the biennial legislative session is a great experience. To assist in arranging your visit please call Saul Mendoza, my Chief of Staff, at (512) 463-0490 or at saul.mendoza@house.texas.gov.