Editorial

22 February 2021

Capitol Update: Addressing Winter Storms Uri and Viola 

People across the state are doing what they can to keep their families fed, safe and warm—all while experiencing unprecedented blackouts due to an electrical grid that failed when we needed it most.  Many prepared for this historical winter storm by stocking up on food and supplies, while others are struggling to find the basic necessities. To that end, I’ve seen friends open up their homes, neighbors helping neighbors fix busted pipes, and restaurants giving food to those with no place to go. You, the people of Texas, are stepping up for your families, friends and neighbors in the most critical of times. With all the issues facing the state, none are more important right now than helping Texans get back on their feet.

Winter Storms: Uri and Viola 

Millions of Texans have or are currently experiencing power outages because of the extreme Arctic weather that recently blanketed the state.  Declaring new emergency items for the Texas Legislature, Governor Abbott moved the investigation into the state’s electric grid to the top of the list with the charge to reform the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and better winterize our power generation and electricity delivery infrastructure. To immediately address our electricity shortage, House Speaker Dade Phelan announced the House Committees on State Affairs and Energy Resources will hold a joint hearing to question officials as to why a trusted system in this state has failed. ERCOT, which is under the jurisdiction of the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC), operates the Texas grid through a collection of generating plants, transmission lines, and electric meters that transform gas, coal, wind and sunlight into electricity. ERCOT is responsible for overseeing and providing usable and reliable energy to Texas homes and businesses. Not only did they fail to deliver on their primary mission, but also had no backup or reserves stored to meet the power demands from a winter storm for which they had ample time to plan. An investigation by lawmakers will take place into ERCOT’s preparedness and winterization in accordance with state and federal law.

Texans expect and deserve better. ERCOT’s response to the winter weather forecast is unacceptable, and my House colleagues and I are eager to get to the bottom of what went wrong. The aforementioned hearing will be held on Thursday, February 25th, and can be viewed through the Texas House of Representatives website, which can be found at: https://house.texas.gov/video-audio/.

Capitol Update

In recent news, I have been appointed to serve on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Articles I, IV & V (General Government, the Judiciary and Criminal Justice & Public Safety). The House Committee on Appropriations begins meeting on Monday, February 22nd – a new date because of icy road conditions and the fact that a majority of lawmakers couldn’t safely travel to Austin last week.  Starting with the 2022-2023 Biennial Revenue Estimate, my fellow committee members and I will hear invited testimony on the state’s spending limits, budget recommendations, COVD-19 response, and other important issues.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way.  My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762.

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