Capitol Update

05 May 2017

Capitol Update: Legislation

With less than four weeks to go in the 85th Legislative Session, the Legislature has shifted into high gear as we are now meeting even on weekends. This next week the Texas House will have its last chance to take action on the bills that were authored by House members. In the weeks that follow, the House will be required to consider only Senate bills, which means a dead sprint to the finish line. Stay tuned, as things will only get more interesting as we approach Sine Die. . .

Legislation

I’d like to start by highlighting a piece of legislation that is very important to my district, and one which I am proud to have supported since its inception. This resolution, SJR 2, calls for a convention of the states under Article V of the Constitution. Because the Senate has already passed their joint resolution, this legislation does not require the governor’s signature and effectively makes Texas the 11th of 34 states needed to call the convention. I am a proud co-author of this resolution and believe that its passage represents a strong step towards reigning in the power of the federal government.

One of the most important bills this session recently passed the House with unanimous support. HB 3976 helps bring sustainable structural changes to  TRS-Care, which affects nearly 207,000 retired teachers and 54,000 of their dependents. As the bill author, I’m proud this legislation earned the support of the Texas Retired Teachers Association, as well as all my House colleagues, as we were able to demonstrate our commitment to those retired teachers who have been so instrumental to the well-being of our state.

Finally, I’d like bring attention to a couple education bills that passed out of the House this week. One of my bills, HB 1776, replaces the end of course history exam with the civics portion of the United States citizenship test. The second, and perhaps even more important, HB 515, rolls back high-stakes testing by eliminating nine standardized tests in our schools. I am proud to have incorporated my bill into HB 515 by amending the language to ensure the civics portion of the United States citizenship would replace the U.S. History end of course exam after this burdensome test is eliminated.

The elimination of the U.S. History end of course exam is part of a national movement to do away with a test that fails to address the most fundamental aspects of American citizenry. The passage of this legislation in the Texas House not only helps to promote fundamental knowledge that is critical to an engaged and productive citizenry, but also alleviates burdens at the local level by allowing our educators to administer the test at any time in a student’s high school career.

 

Reminders

The mobile office is back on the road in May and looks forward to seeing you around the district! Here’s this month’s schedule: May 3rd from 9am – 11am at the Leon County Courthouse in Centerville or from 1:30pm – 3:30pm at the Madison County Courthouse Annex in Madisonville. You can also come see us on May 17th from 9am – 11am at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crocket. Finally, we will be at the San Augustine County Courthouse on May 24th from 9-11am. 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.

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