With less than four weeks to go before the 87th Legislative Session comes to a close, there is a mad dash to hear as many bills as possible before “Sine Die.” With so much happening in these final thirty days, let’s jump right in…
Recently, state leaders announced that $11.2 billion of available federal funds will be released to public schools in order to address the learning loss experienced by students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the next few years, these funds will support the comprehensive effort to help students who have fallen behind due to the obstacles presented during the pandemic such as remote learning and higher than normal absences. Importantly, the funds will not be used to replace state funds that the districts are owed for their regular programing.
With federal funds now coming to our state as part of relief packages, the Texas Legislature, along with state leadership, plans to distribute these funds as swiftly and efficiently as possible. And while portions of these dollars can be utilized right away for public schools’ most pressing needs, some funds come with strings attached. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the U.S. Department of Education are currently working to resolve our state’s concerns with the federal stipulations.
On the House Floor this week, the House discussed several measures which aimed at strengthening public safety. For example, House Bill 323 incentivizes communication between local governments and law enforcement agencies by ensuring peace officers have the best training available. We also debated House Bill 1900, of which I am a proud co-author, which prevents cities from defunding their police departments. Next, the House took action on House Bill 19 which seeks to reign in frivolous lawsuits affecting those in the commercial trucking industry. Finally, the House passed the Second Amendment Sanctuary State Act—House Bill 2622. This bill is a proactive measure to protect Texans’ Second Amendment rights by prohibiting the enforcement of restrictive federal regulations on firearms or ammunition that are not in state law.
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/.