The election has passed, and the people of the great state of Texas have voiced their opinions on those they are placing their trust in to lead on the issues that are important to them.
I am most honored to continue serving you in the Texas House of Representatives and am eager to work together on the many opportunities ahead.
On Jan. 8 lawmakers will convene in the people’s house and begin the 86th Legislative Session. During those 140 days your legislature will address many key issues to protect and continue Texas’ path of prosperity.
In the 2017 session, legislators in both the House and Senate debated a wide range of issues ranging from enhancing border security, reforming child protective services and increasing funding for mental health to enacting laws that further honor our veterans, help homeowners with improved lending options and put more funds into the Teacher Retirement System. Ultimately, more than 6,600 bills were filed in the 85th regular session alone with Gov. Greg Abbott signing more than 1,000 bills into law.
As we look ahead to 2019, the process begins again when lawmakers are sworn in at the Capitol to immediately engage in the flurry of activity that follows.
While I expect a large number of bills to be filed, there will be a few that will emerge as key priorities for Texans.
Without question, the biggest priority ahead for lawmakers is how we keep our students and teachers safe at school. As a father and elected official, I believe we must be prepared to look at the many solutions before us and take bold steps to prevent another horrific tragedy. There has been much work over the interim to address school security, and I am eager to join with my legislative colleagues to translate viable concepts into meaningful changes. Parents must have confidence that their children are safe when in the hands of our schools across the state.
Another key legislative item that has impacted Texas homeowners is increasing property taxes. While lawmakers have taken action in this area of policy to pass overall property tax reductions and also decrease the burdens on our veterans, survivors of first responders who lost their lives while serving, and disabled populations, we must now enact meaningful property tax reform across the board.
However, we cannot provide property tax reform until lawmakers address public school finance. These two are tied together which is evident to those who receive a property tax bill and realize over 50 percent of the assessment consists of public school costs.
In the 2017 Special Session, House Bill 21 was passed establishing the Texas Commission on Public School Finance. During the interim, this workgroup was charged with developing and making recommendations for improving our current funding model. I look forward to reviewing the comprehensive work that is being finalized and to making a revitalized funding formula for our schools a top priority.
Though there are many important issues that need attention in the 86th Legislative Session, I want to remind Texans that Hurricane Harvey sewed devastation that the state will bear for years to come.
Along with the other important issues we face, our coastal region will not be ignored as measures are established for present and future reconstructive purposes, and we keep the wellbeing of all Texans at the forefront of our work.
Outside of these many critical issues, I have been passionate over the years about passing laws that protect children and our vulnerable populations, stops human trafficking, enhances medical innovation, promotes educational opportunities, and stimulates our economic vitality. I look forward to continuing to lead in these areas of public policy and am grateful to represent an engaged constituency who shares their thoughts, ideas, and personal stories with me every day.
While I will be in Austin a majority of the time during the next session, I am always accessible to you. Please know there are many resources to follow each bill that is filed so that you can stay informed. The Texas House of Representatives website, house.texas.gov, provides a lot of educational tools, and my office is happy to help you navigate your areas of interest. Also, if you are ever in Austin during the legislative session, always feel free to stop by my office and say hello! One of my favorite parts of being at the Capitol is seeing people from home and knowing they too are passionate about Texas’ future.
If I can ever be of service, please never hesitate to call 512-463-0688 or email email@example.com. Wishing you and your family a very blessed Christmas and holiday season!