The last month of session can only mean one thing: weekend floor calendars. We had our first Saturday calendar this week, and I anticipate a few more in the near future as my colleagues and I work to ensure all of the state’s priorities are addressed during the next four weeks.
Volunteer Fire Departments
I was proud to support House Bill 7 as it passed the House this week. While the measure included funding and support for several state programs, the priority for me in this bill was guaranteeing funding for the Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Grant Program. This program is vital to our communities in rural Texas, where brave men and women at VFDs work tirelessly to protect our homes and our property from tragedy. Rest assured that I will continue to fight for legislation that provides our VFDs with the resources they need– including this grant program.
Historic Tax Cuts
The House passed two bills earlier this week that aim to provide real and meaningful tax-relief to all Texans. The proposals, which I coauthored, are seeking to reduce the percentage of the state sales tax and the business franchise tax. Because the Legislature has never voted to reduce our state sales tax before, this would be a truly historic measure. This relief package would enable all Texans and businesses to keep more of their hard-earned dollars. The sales tax cut would move Texas from 12th to 26th on the list of states with the highest sales tax rates, while the current franchise tax rate would decrease by 25 percent.
Local Control on Writing Tests
I was extremely pleased to be able to support HB 1164 as it passed the House earlier this week. This measure seeks to further reform standardized testing by allowing Texas school districts to create their own writing assessment component for high school students taking English I and II exams. The move would ensure that a students’ writing ability is judged by a teacher who has seen their work over the course of a full year, instead of a state testing contractor who has limited time to grade a number of essays. This proposal would give school districts more local control and save the state $30 million over a two-year period.
District 57 Students in the State Spotlight
This week the House unanimously passed a resolution I authored honoring the Lufkin High School Boys Soccer Team on winning the 5A State Championship. Having our District 57 students compete and excel in academic and athletic competitions at the state level seems to be commonplace at this point; and we can and should attribute that success to the hard work and dedication of those students, along with their teachers, coaches, parents and the communities that support them. With the state UIL academic competition coming up, the state track meet a couple of weeks away, and baseball and softball playoffs around the corner, I expect to see plenty of our students and student-athletes in Austin in the coming weeks.
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