February is here and with it comes lots of activity at your Texas Capitol. Interim committee hearings have now begun in earnest, as members of both the House and Senate dig into the assignments handed to us earlier by the Speaker of the House and Lieutenant Governor respectively. So, as await the arrival both an early Spring, as indicated by Punxsutawney Phil, and more interim hearings, here is the latest update from your State Capitol…
Defending Rural Water
On February 2nd, the House Natural Resources Committee had our first hearing focused on water markets and certain impediments to moving water around the state. This is a huge issue, not just for our region, but rural communities across Texas. The ideas discussed in the hearing, while unsettling, were nothing new: creating a statewide water grid, moving the water planning process from a regional to a statewide model, eliminating the junior water rights provision, and finally, ideas on making it easier to move water from one river basin to another. As you might imagine, the hearing was rather lengthy and filled with healthy and passionate discussion about these divisive issues. Looking forward, there is no question water will be a major topic on the minds of legislators, but as the only East Texan currently serving on the committee, let me reassure you I understand how critical this issue is for those of us blessed to call this region home, as well as to our future. I’ll keep you updated as this committee meets and continues our discussion on ways to meet the needs of a growing, and increasingly thirsty state.
House Interim Charges: House Committee on Business and Industry
As we continue our look into the House interim charges, next up is the House Committee on Business and Industry. The committee will work to identify and address potential gaps in Texas businesses’ cybersecurity policies and seek to ensure that Texans’ personal information is secure from fraud and identity theft. Additionally, the committee will consider how any regulations that are enacted to secure private citizens’ personal information will affect businesses, making sure that any regulations do not impede economic growth. A look into the Texas workers’ compensation system will be conducted to identify areas that need improvement. And lastly, the committee will analyze data regarding the manufacturing industry in Texas, in order to identify methods to enhancing our skilled workforce and improving trade opportunities.
On February 17th the mobile office will be at the Houston County Courthouse Annex from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, and then at the Trinity County Courthouse from 1:30 pm until 3:30 pm. We will wrap up the mobile office for the month at the San Augustine County Courthouse on February 24th from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. We look forward to the opportunity to hear your concerns and help you navigate state government. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762 or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.