With cooler weather and the month of November right around the corner, our nation prepares to honor one of our most important holidays – Veterans Day. Our brave servicemen and women risk their lives so we may live with the freedom and principles upon which our country was founded. I hope you’ll join me in showing your gratitude for our veterans and praying for those who have served or are currently serving in our nation’s armed forces.
With that, here’s an update from your State Capitol…
With the Third Called Session officially in the rearview mirror, I was thrilled to return back to the Pineywoods this week and spend some time with family and friends. While the primary focus of the most recent Special Session was to redraw political boundaries, the Legislature also successfully delivered on property tax reform and appropriated federal COVID-19 relief funds, including a significant amount to improve our state’s higher education institutions.
With respect to redistricting, there were four potential maps under consideration — the Texas House of Representatives, the Texas Senate, Texas’ 38 Congressional seats, and the State Board of Education. These new maps will take effect during the upcoming primary elections, currently slated for March 1, 2022. I was deeply disappointed that both Leon and Madison Counties were removed from our House district, but the friendships and relationships I have made there will always be cherished and endure regardless of political lines. In the coming weeks, I look forward to meeting and listening to the residents of Polk and Tyler Counties which we welcome into our new House District 9.
Recognizing the dramatic rise in property taxes across our state, the Legislature was able to act quickly in passing Senate Bill 1 and Senate Joint Resolution 2, allowing Texans to vote on whether to raise the state’s homestead exemption for school district M&O property taxes from $25,000 to $40,000. I was a proud co-author of these measures and hope to see the referendum pass overwhelmingly on May 7, 2022.
Finally, with the state receiving more than $16 billion in federal relief funds, the House and Senate reached an agreement on how to distribute these dollars. The significant expenditures included $7.2 billion for the Unemployment Compensation Fund, $2 billion to the Texas Department of State Health Services for Texas hospitals, $500.5 million to fund broadband infrastructure, and $325 million to authorize the issuance of bonds for capital improvements at our state’s university systems. Additionally, the Legislature sent supplementary funds to rural hospitals, set aside $3 billion to cover the cost of further tax relief in 2023, and made a robust investment to update the technology for our state’s 911 system.
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: