Capitol Update: Supporting Retired Teachers and School Bus Drivers
As we enter into the coldest part of the year, and with a winter blast making its way across Texas, I thought it might be helpful to provide a friendly reminder on ways you can protect yourself and your property from inclement weather.
Winterize your home by turning off outside faucets and covering any pipes or exposed water valves in drafty or unheated areas, tightly close doors and windows and seal any cracks that allow cold air into your home, open cabinets beneath kitchen and bathroom sinks to allow warmer air to circulate around pipes, and make sure you know where your water shutoff valve is located in the event of a pipe break. Winter weather can also create unpredictable driving conditions and TxDOT encourages all travelers to avoid the roadways as much as possible. However, if you must drive, reduce your speed, use extra caution on bridges, ramps and overpassed, and be aware of the latest road conditions by visiting www.drivetexas.org
During the Second Special Session, I was proud to joint-author legislation to provide retired teachers with an additional thirteenth check as a way of expressing our gratitude to the tireless men and women who dedicated their career to building a brighter future for Texas students. The Teachers Retirement System of Texas (TRS) recently announced that the checks had been issued and that recipients should have received their check by the end of last week. Coming from a family of Texas teachers, I have the deepest appreciation for the impact educators have on our lives and I was honored to play a role in giving back to the countless educators for their dedication and service.
The Department of Public Safety recently announced a waiver for select Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL) to assist with the ongoing shortage of school bus drivers. The waiver allows the state to waive the portion of the CDL testing requirement covering knowledge of the “under the hood” engine components, which is one the largest contributing components to the shortage of bus drivers in Texas. I was pleased to see this development from DPS, as I’ve heard from countless school administrators about their difficulty finding qualified bus drivers, largely due to this “under the hood” portion of the CDL test. Because CDLs are governed by the federal government, the State of Texas lacks the legislative authority to remove or alter the administration of the CDL. However, I was proud to join Senator Nichols in authoring a Concurrent Resolution urging Congress to pass legislation that would grant licensing authority for public school bus drivers to the state so that we can help address this shortage through legislation. Though Congress has yet to pass legislation to that effect, I would encourage our school districts to take advantage of this opportunity to address the shortage of drivers by visiting
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/.