The State Capitol was filled with energy this past week, as folks from around the state poured into the building to celebrate Texas Independence Day. On March 2, 1836 our brave ancestors adopted the Texas Declaration of Independence, which officially established Texas’ independence from Mexico and created the Republic of Texas. As I walked the halls of our Capitol this Independence Day, I was constantly reminded of our state’s rich history, which is deeply rooted in independence and liberty. It is the honor of a lifetime, and a privilege I do not take lightly, to come to this building everyday as your State Representative. In that regard, here is an update on what’s happening in Austin. . .
This past week the Texas House of Representatives voted on several pieces of legislation involving Child Protective Services reform that were declared an emergency item by Governor Abbott. Specifically, the House passed HB 4 by a vote of 145-0 to allow timely payments for children and their families who have been abused. The chamber also passed HB 5, which would make the Department of Family and Protective Services a standalone agency, by a vote of 144-0. The unanimous vote underscores the commitment of the Legislature to improving child protection in our state and represents a deliberative step in achieving that goal.
Another first this session came on Wednesday afternoon when the House Committee on Natural Resources met for the first time. The committee heard from both the Texas Water Development Board and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality about the State Water Implementation Fund and groundwater rights in Texas. As the session continues, I look forward to continue fighting for water rights on behalf of my district and region.
Meetings and Engagements
It has been a busy week, as I have had a number of meetings with organizations and constituents that were in Austin to engage in the legislative process. I had the pleasure of meeting with some of our local law enforcement in my Capitol office when they were in town for their legislative day. I always love getting to sit down and visit with some of the brave men and women in our district that work so hard to keep us safe. Supporting local law enforcement is critical to the wellbeing of my district and having the opportunity to hear from them allows me to ensure I’m doing all I can to support them.
I was recently invited to speak to over 500 PTA members from across the state who met in Austin to advocate for public education. I spoke about the importance of their engagement as the budgeting process moves forward and made abundantly clear my support for our public schools, teachers, and students.
The mobile office is back on the road in March and looks forward to seeing you around the district! Here’s this month’s schedule: March 15th from 9am – 11am at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crockett or from 1:30pm – 3:30pm at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton. You can also come see us on March 22nd from 9am – 11am at the San Augustine County Courthouse in San Augustine. 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, or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.