We are past the halfway point of the legislative session. Bills are moving, committees are meeting, warmer weather is coming. The legislature is making progress on addressing the big-ticket issues for our state. From the coronavirus pandemic response to fixing our electric grid, we are making strides to propel the State of Texas and our economy forward!
I’d like to provide a little insight into some of the bills I am working on and others of interest.
First off, I serve on the Appropriations Committee and the Appropriations sub-committee on Article III. The sub-committee I serve on deals with all things education. Both K-12 and higher education, as well as Teacher Retirement Systems of Texas.
We entered the legislative session with an estimated $112.5 billion available to allocate for general-purpose spending in the next two-year state budget, a number that’s down slightly from the current budget but is significantly higher than what was estimated this summer when the coronavirus began to devastate the economy. Texas is scheduled to receive an influx of federal funds as a part of the continued COVID relief plans passed by Congress. These funds will help shore up cuts that had to be made to various state agencies and state services including our schools. It is my hope that by the end of the session we will not only be able to prevent cuts to education, but to provide additional resources for our children.
I filed HB 1833, which seeks to prevent state agencies from selling personal information that they may require for various licenses, registrations, or other documentation. Loopholes in state law allow personal information to be bought by private companies, who then use it to contact individuals to sell products.
I also have HB 2499, which would require anyone of any age being towed behind a motorboat to wear a life jacket. Currently, those 13 years of age or older are not required to wear a lifejacket when water skiing or participating in other water sports. I believe this bill has the opportunity to save lives.
HB 2705 would join Texas Woman’s University’s (TWU) three campuses across the state as a university system. TWU has campuses in Denton, Dallas, and Houston. This is an effort the leadership at TWU has been working on to boost the status and capabilities of the university. The Denton campus will remain the primary TWU campus.
I filed HB 3163, which would prevent duplication of our education efforts and dollars by improving the framework by which public charter schools expand across the state. Finally, HB 4173 would limit the distribution of Federal Drug Enforcement Administration numbers by pharmacies in order to prevent potential fraud.
Information on these and other bills can be found at Texas Legislature Online at www.capitol.texas.gov.