Capitol Update: Priority Bills for the 88th Legislature
The early return of warmer temperatures means Spring is just around the corner. Driving back to East Texas each week from Austin, I can’t help but to admire the true natural beauty of our region. From the native flowers that dot the landscape to the dogwood blooms that are putting on a show, it’s a great time to be outdoors. It’s also county fair season for many of our communities. As a proud supporter of our youth involved in FFA, 4-H, and FCCLA, I hope you will make every effort to get out and support these students who will be showcasing their projects in the coming weeks. Always remember that investing in our youth is investing in our community’s success. I hope to see you at the fair!
With that, here’s an update from your State Capitol…
This past week, the Speaker unveiled a number of bills that will be a priority for the Texas House this session. Among the recent list of priorities is a bill I filed, House Bill 9, which would make a historic investment in the expansion and development of broadband infrastructure throughout the State of Texas. This bill will be paired with a Joint Resolution, HJR 125, which establishes the Broadband Infrastructure Fund as a fund outside the state treasury for the sole purpose of increasing connectivity in Texas. Together, HB 9 and HJR 125 would distinguish the State of Texas with a bold and ambitious investment in broadband infrastructure funding to increase access and affordability, support critical programs like 911 services and school safety initiatives, eliminate costly fees on customers, and foster greater economic prosperity through a more connected Texas.
Another House priority this session will be on improving our state’s water infrastructure. The legislation, House Bill 10, would create the Texas Water Fund to provide greater financial assistance for rural and underserved communities to enhance water infrastructure. Similar to HB 9, HB 10 will be paired with a Joint Resolution, HJR 130, to establish the fund. I applaud the Speaker for making water infrastructure a priority, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to make strides toward enhancing our water infrastructure throughout the state.
Another priority, House Bill 15 would establish the Mental Health and Brain Research Institute of Texas. Under HB 15, the state would dedicate funding to improving brain health research, preventative care, and treatment centers to address our state’s mental health needs. The bill is paired with HJR 135, which establishes the Mental Health and Brain Research Institute of Texas.
The mobile office is on the road again and we look forward to seeing you on the following dates, in the following locations: March 15 at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crockett from 9:00-11:00am, or at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton from 1:30-3:30pm; April 5 at the San Augustine County Courthouse from 9:00-11:00am; April 12 at the Polk County Commissioner’s Court Room in Livingston from 9:00-11:00am, or at the Tyler County Courthouse in Woodville from 1:30-3:30pm.
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 post regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and share information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/