As you know, the 87th Legislative Session concluded back in May of this year. We adjourned sine die on Memorial Day, but unfortunately due to procedural tactics made by the House Democrats, we were unable to pass two key items that had been declared emergency items by Governor Greg Abbott: election integrity and bail reform. This, along with the governor’s decision to line-item veto Article X of the state budget, ensures the legislature will be back for a special session before the already expected fall special session to conduct the decennial redistricting process. While the regular session ended in a bit of a quagmire, there are numerous takeaways to be proud of. I would like to highlight some of those for you here:
The state budget for the 2022-23 budget cycle totals $248.5 billion. Slightly lower in total from the previous cycle, this balanced budget makes key investments to public education, healthcare, and border security.
Pub Ed totals about $46 billion.
* $11 billion in federal funding delivered directly to schools.
* $664 million target for programs to help students affected by the pandemic.
* $464 million for increases to the Foundation School Program formula and other student allotments.
* $60 million for supplemental special education services.
* $362 million for women’s health programs ($10 mil more than the previous budget).
* $164.2 million to lower CPS caseworker workloads, expand community-based care for foster children, and increase capacity in the foster care system.
* $76.9 million to serve more individuals with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities on the community interest list.
* $4.2 million to enhance the Public Utility Commission and other regulatory response related to oversight of ERCOT activities
* $30.2 billion to the TXDOT for highway planning and design, construction, maintenance, and preservation.
* $1 billion for enhanced border security.
* $380 million for enrollment growth in higher education.
SB 1126/HB 2705 establishing Texas Woman’s University as the first woman-focused university system in the country. The bill joins the Denton, Dallas, and Houston campuses formally as a university system. It is important to note that Denton will remain the flagship campus.
HB 1833 relating to restrictions on the sale by a state agency of information that identifies an individual. While this bill did not pass, I am happy to have joint-sponsored SB 15 creating the Texas Consumer Privacy Act protecting personal information from getting into the wrong hands.
SB 2208/HB 4602 creating the Rocky Top Ranch Municipal Utility District North of HWY 380 in unincorporated West Denton County for residential development. This development will help foster the continued growth in Denton County.
SB 476 by Senator Jane Nelson, which I was proud to be the House Sponsor, improving resources for adult sexual assault victims.
In addition the legislature passed bills to reorganize and harden the electric grid through SB 2, SB 3, and others. We provided for more telehealth/telemedicine services in HB 4. We expanded broadband internet through HB 5. Lowered the high-stakes nature of the STAAR exam for students in HB 4545. Capped enrollee’s shared cost on prescription insulin to $25 in SB 827 as well as increased access to affordable prescription drugs in HB 18. Protected life through SB 8. Prohibited the closing of churches during a disaster order in HB 1239 and allowed permitless carry for persons 21 years and older legally allowed to own a gun in HB 1927. More information about these and other bills can be found at capitol.texas.gov.
I thank you for your continued support. Lori and I look forward to visiting with you more now that we are spending the majority of our time home in Denton. As always you can reach out to my office with questions or concerns. It is an honor to serve you.