15 March 2021

Capitol Update: Continung ERCOT reform

As most parents of school-aged children know, this is the time of year when schools observe a well-deserved spring break.  To that end, I was fortunate enough to have my family travel to Austin this past week so we could spend some time together. I hope all of our students, teachers, and school district employees enjoyed their spring break!

With the warmer weather, the annual movement of our clocks up an hour, and even some bluebonnet-sightings – it’s clear that Spring is upon us. With our recent winter weather, many of our trees, shrubs, and flowers are behind in producing their annual blooms. Please be advised that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center cautions against over pruning right away and recommends gardeners and landscapers be patient with unsightly foliage or delayed blooming. Many plants will leaf out in the coming weeks so you will be able to see the severity of the harm done by the freeze. Should you have specific questions about your trees or shrubs, please contact your local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office as they are an incredible resource on this topic.

With that, here’s an update from your State Capitol in Austin…

Capitol Update

On March 14th, we once again observe Daylight Savings Time and move our clocks forward an hour. As this issue always stirs spirited debate, I’d like to highlight House Joint Resolution 78 filed by Representative Lyle Larson from San Antonio. This resolution proposes a constitutional amendment to allow Texas voters to decide whether we should continue observing Daylight Savings Time or adopt a standard time year-round. I’ve always supported giving voters the opportunity to choose the fate of this issue, and I hope to be given an opportunity to once again weigh in on this matter. I will be sure to keep you updated on HJR 78 as the session progresses.

This week I filed House Bill 3395 which expands access to the test required for a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Currently, the test must be administered directly by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and can be burdensome for drivers in rural areas where the nearest DPS testing location can be over an hour away. HB 3395 would open up the test, allowing for driving schools, employers, or any other qualified entities to administer the CDL test with DPS approval.

Additionally, members of the Texas House filed seven bills (House Bills 10-17) aimed to comprehensively respond to the traumatic events and loss of power during our recent winter storm. Included among the proposed reforms for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) are: a requirement that board members must be Texas residents, more robust emergency communication with Texans, and greater efficiency and coordination between regulatory agencies. I fully support legislation aimed at holding the stakeholders accountable and ensuring our Texas electric grid is able to handle whatever Mother Nature throws at us.

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. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will be posting regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and sharing information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/

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