April 28, 2017

Legislative Update 4.21.2017

San Jacinto Day

Today, April 21, 2017, marks the 181st anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto.   As you might know, the Battle of San Jacinto is where the Republic of Texas defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna's army and gained our independence.  Aside from the Battle of the Alamo, this battle, and it's key victory, is the most famous battle in the Texas Revolution. Lasting only 18 minutes, Sam Houston and his troops snuck up on Santa Anna and his men. Shouting "Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!" his men quickly defeated Santa Anna's troops. This decisive victory was the turning point in the Texas Revolution.

 

Red, White and Blue Interview

I sat down recently with PBS Houston's Red, White & Blue with fellow State Representative Carol Alvarado. Together we discussed issues facing the 85th Texas Legislature.

Check out the full interview here.

 

Texas Alliance for Life

Always a pleasure to get to speak with Dr. Pojman and Texas Alliance for Life. I appreciate all they do for Texas.

Texas Education Finance Legislation

 

The Texas House of Representatives gave approval this week to a bill that would make structural changes to the state's school finance system.

After hours of debate, House Bill (HB) 21 by House Public Education Chair Rep. Dan Huberty will provide $1.6 billion in additional education funding. Currently school districts receive just over $5,100 per student from the state legislature. Under HB 21 most school districts would receive an estimated $250 more per student.

In addition, HB 21 also would create a $200 million "hardship provision grant" to help school districts slated to lose the so-called hold harmless funding starting next school year. This bill is a first step in an attempt of what I hope will be many steps to overhaul our school finance system in Texas.

 

TWIA Legislation

 

This week I laid out two bills relating to the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) before the Texas House Insurance Committee. As the insurer of last resort for wind and hail along the coast, House Bill (HB) 3509 and HB 3510 would establish a more efficient process when TWIA files an adjustment to their maximum limits of liability to the Texas Department of Insurance as well as provide greater transparency to policy holders regarding their coverage. I appreciate Mayor pro-tempore of Galveston City and independent agent Terrilyn Tarlton-Shannon for coming to testify in favor of these bills.  

 

Barbers Hill ISD Legislation

 

On Wednesday, April 19th, I presented House Bill 3512 to the House Committee on Higher Education. This bill would allow Barbers Hill ISD to petition to create a new junior college.

Currently, a school district must have a taxable property valuation in excess of $2.5 billion and a student population greater than 15,000. We are asking for an exception to that requirement when a school district has a taxable property valuation in excess of $5 billion and a student population greater than 5,000.

Opening up the petition process for Barbers Hill ISD would create incredible opportunities for the students down the road. Having a junior college will provide additional opportunities to obtain higher education and job training for local businesses in Mont Belvieu and the rest of Chambers County. I was honored to be joined by Dr. Greg Poole, Superintendent of Barbers Hill ISD, and three bright young students, Blake Lee, Neely Venters, and Kade Davis, during my bill layout. The students offered their unique perspectives as students and shared their hopes for the district's future. I also appreciated the testimony of George Barrera & Nathan Watkins who offered their viewpoints on the matter as well.