Editorial

25 January 2021

Capitol Update: First Bills Filed for the 87th Session

In recent days our country has endured great challenges. These trials were met with great bravery from law enforcement who put themselves in the line of danger to protect the United States Capitol from civil unrest. Similarly, facing credible threats, an additional deployment of Texas State Troopers and National Guardsmen have been carefully watching over your State Capitol to ensure that a similar incident does not take place in Austin. Our capitol buildings should be respected for what they are—enduring symbols of our people and their government. Appreciation and respect for those who protect these buildings should be a bipartisan sentiment. All of us, no matter race, color, creed, or party affiliation should be grateful for law enforcement’s presence and commitment to public safety in these challenging times.

With that, here’s an update from your State Capitol. . .

Capitol Update

After debating the procedural rules that will govern the Texas House during the upcoming session, legislators went back to their home districts to work with constituents until Tuesday, January 26th. This break is somewhat usual, as legislators may only take action on the Governor’s emergency items during the first sixty days of a legislative session. To this point, the Governor has made no official statement on emergency items for this session. This process, which is outlined in the Texas Constitution, affords members of the Legislature the opportunity to focus solely on those most pressing issues at the start of a session.

Members of the House are also waiting on newly elected Speaker Dade Phelan to appoint members to their respective House Committees. Each member typically serves on 2-3 committees of varying jurisdiction and are often appointed to a committee based on personal expertise or relevance to their district. Having said that, Speaker’s have historically worked to include members of different walks of life, spanning all regions of the state, to each committee in an effort to provide a well-balanced approach to public policy. In the coming weeks, I look forward to updating you my new committee assignments.

Finally, I wanted to spotlight a couple of bills my office filed this week. The first, House Bill 1256, which passed the House with nearly 140 votes in 2019, ensures sustainable funding for our specialty court system in Texas. Most notably, our drug courts. This smart on crime approach has proven to reduce the likelihood by of repeat offenses by 75-percent, and saves the state an estimated $3.36 for every dollar spent. The second, House Bill 1257 works to ensure public safety by allowing law enforcement officers to remove hazardous objects from our roads and highways. In the coming weeks, I will highlight additional legislation that I have filed.

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

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