With the 2020 General Election upon us, I want to remind everyone that the State of Texas will have an extended early voting period that begins on October 13 and end on October 30. I want to encourage everyone to take advantage of this extended early voting period. By voting early this election cycle, you not only avoid longer lines and wait times, but also help ensure the health and safety of our dedicated election administrators, poll watchers, and other volunteers who are working overtime to protect one our most fundamental rights as Americans – the right to vote. So please make a plan with your family and friends to vote early this cycle. For more information on early voting polling locations, please visit www.votetexas.gov
With that, here’s an update from your State Capitol. . .
I recently joined over 50 of my House Colleagues in a bi-partisan effort to support the Surplus Agricultural Product Grant program, which allows local food banks to access surplus or unsellable produce from Texas farmers so that they can re-distribute excess produce to those in need. Our food banks play such a critical role in our communities by helping struggling Texans access food that is both affordable and nutritious. In fact, recent data shows that for every $1, Texas food banks can provide 8lbs of produce. With fall in full swing and winter around the corner, demand for the services our food banks provide will increase significantly and I hope that you will consider supporting your local foodbank to help others in need.
As a member of the House Committee on Public Education, I helped lead an effort to extend the guaranteed funding period for schools, which was established under their reopening guidelines. With so many school districts experiencing a steep decline in average daily attendance due to COVID-19, members expressed concern over the financial ramifications this decline would have on Texas students, particularly those living in underserved areas. As a result, Governor Abbott recently announced that the Texas Education Agency would extend the original 12-week funding an additional six weeks to help alleviate the budgetary burden that has been placed on school districts as a result of widespread declines in attendance due to COVID-19. This extension will ensure that schools will receive their anticipated state funding through the end of the first semester regardless of changes to enrollment or attendance, provided there’s a good faith effort to offer in-person instruction. This extension not only helps districts meet the unique needs of their students, but also offers increased flexibility for districts to address the financial, technological, and staffing challenges that have persisted as they adapt to a new learning environment. Given the uncertain nature of this public health crisis, what must remain certain is the unwavering support offered to teachers and students who are going above and beyond to adapt to a new learning environment.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact our office if we can help you in any way. Our District office may be reached at (936) 634-2762.