Since I was a kid, I've always been fascinated by Punxsutawney Phil and his ability to predict the end of winter. With the utmost respect to the world's most famous groundhog, I sure hope he's wrong this year, as I'd be happy to trade his prediction of six more weeks of winter for some milder weather - along with some much-needed rain.
As a reminder early voting will begin on Tuesday, Feb. 20, for the upcoming March 6 primary election. Please make a note of these dates and plan to exercise your privilege to vote.
With that being said, here's and update from your State Capitol.
Interim Committee Work
The first month of 2018 has come and gone and the activity level in the State Capitol has really picked up with regards to the interim committee hearings.
While many of these hearings take place in Austin, you may be interested to know that others take place in locations across the state that are relevant to the topic being discussed. For example, the House Appropriations Committee will soon meet in Victoria to personally visit some of the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.
This past week, I went to Tyler as the House Homeland Security Committee was there to discuss several important border security and DPS personnel-related matters.
Additionally, legislators are planning other field hearings across the state to discuss issues such as property taxes, free speech, air quality, and border security just to name a few.
Just days ago our state's chief tax collector, Comptroller Glenn Hegar, updated the Senate Finance Committee on the state of the Texas economy.
Similar to what we heard from the President in the State of The Union, the Comptroller reported a bustling economy for Texas.
Among other things, he reported an uptick in job growth, the lowest unemployment in forty years, and double the amount of revenue in sales tax from this time last year. That said, plenty of work will remain when the gavel falls for the 86th Legislative Session next January as we continue to recover from Hurricane Harvey and plan the most prudent way to cover the associated costs.
Besides the Committees on Natural Resources and Appropriations, which I have served on for several sessions, I will also be working this interim with four other members of the House, and five State Senators, to review the methodology and formulas used for funding our institutions of higher education.
As Co-Chair of this committee, I will lean on much of the experience I've gained in this space in past sessions, but also look forward to finding new innovative ways to increase equity among institutions and ultimately create a more productive environment for all students.
The mobile office is on the road for the month of February and looks forward to seeing you in the following locations, on the following dates: on Feb. 7 at the Leon County Courthouse in Centerville from 9-11 a.m. or at the Madison County Courthouse Annex in Madisonville from 1:30-3:30 p.m.; on Feb. 21 at the Houston County Courthouse in Crockett from 9-11 a.m. or at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton from 1:30-3:30 p.m.; and finally at the San Augustine County Courthouse in San Augustine from 9-11 a.m.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact our office if we can help you in any way. Our district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762, or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.
Trent Ashby represents District 57, which includes Madison County, in the Texas Legislature.