As we enjoy cooler nights and watch the leaves as they start to drop, please don't forget that Election Day is rapidly approaching. Early voting for the Nov. 8 election begins Oct. 24, so make sure to exercise your right and have your voice heard in this year’s election! Visit www.votetexas.gov for helpful resources regarding where and when to vote. With that said, here's an update on what's happening in Austin …
House Interim Charge: Government Transparency & Operation
This week we continue our examination of the topics being studied by the Texas House with a look into the Committee on Government Transparency and Operation. As with many of the interim charges we've been over, emerging technology plays a huge role in our ever-changing system of government. This point is made clear with some of the charges given to the Committee, such as the need to address potential gaps in the state's cybersecurity policies. Since many records are now kept on large servers, it is more critical than ever that personal information and sensitive government documents are secure and protected from cyber-attacks.
In addition to the growing threat of a cyber-breach, the Committee spent much of the interim studying issues related to access of public information. In striving to protect the right of our citizens as afforded by the Public Information Act, the Committee also considered whether the procedures for response are adequate for the citizens of Texas. However, it is also necessary to protect small governmental bodies which may be overburdened financially by repetitious or redundant requests. The Committee also dove into the issue of dissemination of criminal records, which may be inaccurate or incomplete. Though this is critically important to employers and other people who may be requesting such information, the challenges faced by those with an incorrect record could ultimately prevent them from obtaining a job, or worse.
Faith Summit on Foster Care
As in all sessions past, and moving forward, protecting our Texas children is a top priority of the Legislature. With that in mind, Legislators, the Department of Family and Protective Services, local community partners, and faith-based organizations from across the state are coming together to host a Faith Summit at your Texas Capitol on Nov. 2. The summit will focus on opportunities for congregations to engage with families, collaborate with local partners, and prevent families from entering the foster care system. If this is something you may be interested in attending, please know that registration is open, but seating is limited. Please visit www.dfps.state.tx.us/faith for more information.
The mobile office is again on the road and I hope you will come see us around the district on these days and times: Oct. 19 - Houston County Courthouse Annex, Crockett – 9 to 11 a.m. and Trinity County Courthouse, Groveton, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. and Oct. 26 – San Augustine County Courthouse, San Augustine, 9 to 11 a.m.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my 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.