With election season behind us and Thanksgiving quickly approaching, it seems most appropriate to remind ourselves just how blessed we really are. Often times, between trick-or-treating and mistletoe, we tend to overlook the holiday where friends and family come together to give thanks for the many blessings we have in our lives. While my family and I have so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving, serving as your voice in the Texas House of Representatives is a special one on my list. The voters have spoken and now it's time to get to work. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature to continue making Texas the best place to live, work, and raise a family. With that said, here's an update on what's happening in Austin …
House Interim Charge: Homeland Security & Public Safety
This week we look into the issues being studied by the House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety this interim. With Texas being such a large state, both in area and population, the natural threats we face can vary from one area to another. For example, the coastal region is more likely to experience a hurricane than the Panhandle, which is more concerned with tornadoes. Knowing this, the Committee has been looking into the functions of the Texas Division of Emergency Management and how they can best coordinate with municipalities, counties, and state agencies to keep Texans safe in times of tragedy and natural disasters.
The Committee is also working with TxDOT and the DPS on studying two transportation issues. First, ensuring that the switch to one sticker for both registration and inspection is as seamless a process as possible, as it relates to passenger and commercial vehicles, trailers, etc. And second, a review of the current penalties for operating a commercial vehicle that is in violation of state or federal law. Whether the violation involves the weight of a truck, the logging of service time, or something different, the Committee is evaluating the appropriate roll for state and local law enforcement in issuing citations.
An Update on the Teacher Retirement System of Texas
Over the course of this interim, it has been an honor to serve alongside my colleagues in the Texas House and Senate to study the future of the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) for our retired and active educators in Texas. The system is facing a shortfall of over one billion dollars and will be one of the most important issues facing legislators. The Committee's report, which will soon be released, serves as a starting point for the robust conversation in January when the 85th Legislature convenes. While the report contains some options that I do not support, I understand that if the Legislature were to do nothing, the result would be disastrous. Knowing change is unavoidable, I will work diligently to find a solution which minimizes the impact on both our active and retired teachers and look forward being their voice during the upcoming session.
The mobile office is on the road for the month of November. Come see us in Crockett on Wednesday, November 16th at the Houston County Courthouse Annex from 9am-11am or at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton from 1:30pm-3:30pm.The mobile office will discontinue until after the holidays, but please visit us in the Lufkin district office (2915 Atkinson Drive, Lufkin, TX) where we'll be working hard on constituent care and preparing for the upcoming legislative session. In addition, please do not hesitate to call the office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762, or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.