The 86th Legislative Session Begins
The 2019 Texas Legislative session began on Tuesday. I am proud to be serving my 15th session in the Texas House. Thank you, District 147, for re-electing me to serve our community in the Texas Legislature.
Leadership Priorities: The first 20 House bills (House Bill 1 through House Bill 20) and the first 30 Senate bills (Senate Bill 1 through Senate Bill 30) are reserved for the priorities of the House Speaker and the Lieutenant Governor.
The Rules Matter: The House and Senate set their own rules for session this week. The rules set the tone for the session and establish the playing field. If lawmakers set fair rules and follow them, it creates an atmosphere where lawmakers truly debate policies and work through disagreements. On an issue like school finance where regional differences matter in terms of funding, the rules of engagement can make a huge difference for fair funding for all students.
Congratulations to our new House Speaker
Congratulations to newly elected Speaker of the Texas House, Representative Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton). I am confident he will be a strong Speaker and I look forward to working with him and our other colleagues in the Texas House.
Welcome, New Democratic Representatives
I would like to congratulate the 18 new Democratic members we welcomed in the Texas House:
James Talarico – District 52
Erin Zwiener – District 45
Michelle Beckley – District 65
Ana-Maria Ramos – District 102
John Turner – District 114
John H. Bucy III – District 136
Vikki Goodwin – District 47
Rhetta Bowers – District 113
Julie Johnson – District 115
Terry Meza – District 105
Jon Rosenthal – District 135
Alex Dominguez – District 37
Sheryl Cole – District 46
Carl Sherman – District 109
Jessica Gonzalez – District 104
Leo Pacheco – District 118
Trey Martinez-Fischer – District 116
This session, I will be focusing on public education funding, expanding health care access, and criminal justice reform. I have already filed a health care bill, which you can read about here. I will continue to stand up for HISD and push for quality full-day prekindergarten.
Click the links below to see my past accomplishments in health care, public education, and more.
- Policy Spotlight:
- Policy Spotlight: Fighting Gentrification
- Policy Spotlight: Increasing Access to Healthcare
- Policy Spotlight: Government Transparency
- Policy Spotlight: Public Education
- Policy Spotlight: Higher Education
Please click on the links below to see my wrap-ups from the last few sessions to see what we have accomplished.
How to Stay in Touch
Stay tuned for updates throughout the session. We will send out weekly newsletters, policy updates, and news alerts.
Our Capitol office number is 4N.10, located in the Texas State Capitol building.
Our Capitol office can be reached at 512-463-0524.
County Affairs Interim Report Released
This week, the House Committee on County Affairs interim report was published online. Click here to read it. I thank all my committee members for signing on to the report: Vice-Chair Drew Springer (R-Gainesville), Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi), Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford), Representative Victoria Neave (D-Mesquite), Representative Kevin Roberts (R-Houston), Representative Tomas Uresti (D-San Antonio), Representative Shawn Thierry (D-Houston), and Representative Kyle Biedermann (R-Fredericksburg).
One of the most important recommendations in this report is that the Texas Legislature should consider issuing general obligation (GO) bonds to help areas affected by Harvey. Issuance of general obligation bonds with debt services from the Economic Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund) can provide adequate funding to aid in local disaster recovery. While local governments have a mechanism to apply for federal disaster recovery funds, the federal funds are not enough and there is no comparable dedicated state fund. Despite various public-financing options available to local governments, many counties and cities lack the ad valorem tax base and other revenue sources to properly fund debt issuance. Thus, it is the report’s recommendation that we issue GO bonds to help our fellow Texans rebuild.
The report also has other important recommendations regarding diversion into family drug courts before CPS removal, improving behavioral health in schools, and other key recommendations to improve county government to better serve Texans.
Trump and Harvey
As reported yesterday on ABC 13, “The White House is directing the Army Corps of Engineers to find money within its own budget to fund President Trump’s border wall under a national emergency declaration, including money earmarked for Hurricane Harvey relief.” This is dangerous, irresponsible, and wrong. President Trump should read over our County Affairs Interim report which includes recommendations on repairing after Hurricane Harvey.
On Thursday, I was honored to deliver the keynote speech Texas Conference of Urban Counties Policy Conference, where I discussed our findings in the County Affairs Interim Report.
You’re Invited: The Legacy of the Emancipation Park Neighborhood
You’re invited to The Legacy of the Emancipation Park Neighborhood. Click here for more details and to RSVP.
A message from the host, Faith in Action Work Group Houston:
Learn How to Get Involved in Third Ward Community Initiatives!
1) Legacies of the Emancipation Park Neighborhood Project
that will document traditions, folklore, and oral stories of
residents, families, and businesses in our community.
2) The Emancipation Avenue Main Street Initiative and
our plans to revitalize and increase the economic
vitality of the Emancipation Avenue Corridor.
Jack Yates High School Theatre Group’s re-enactment of
Freedom’s Eve in Our Community.
Saturday, January 12, 2019 @ 5:30 p.m.
Emancipation Park Cultural Center
3018 Emancipation Avenue
Seating limited. Register online.
You’re Invited: Come Celebrate the Ground Breaking for Houston’s First Affordable Housing Operations Center
Please join Mayor Sylvester Turner and I next Thursday, January 17th, at 10:15am to celebrate the ground breaking for Houston’s first affordable housing operations center. The ceremony will be held at 3131 Emancipation Avenue at Elgin.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to seeing you there.
What To Watch This Week:
Our video of the week is from PBS NewsHour.
“It’s day 12 of the partial government shutdown. President Trump met with congressional leaders Wednesday afternoon, the day before Democrats take control of the House, to reiterate that affected government agencies would remain closed as long as it takes to deliver the border wall funding he wants. For more on the significance of this unprecedented shutdown, Judy Woodruff talks to Lisa Desjardins.”
VIDEO: Why this government shutdown represents a ‘historic first’
Cartoon of the Week
Source: RJ Matson | Copyright 2019 | Cagle Cartoons
Our song of the week is “This Land” by Gary Clark Jr.