This past week was a frenzy with the bill filing deadline looming on March 8th and lawmakers working feverishly to get their bills in the hopper before the cut-off date. Now that the constitutionally required 60-day waiting period is over for passing bills, the Texas House will begin to take action as a collective body on the House floor. With over 4,000 House bills filed for consideration this session, it's safe to say that the workload in the Texas House will dramatically increase over the next several weeks and months. If you would like more information about bills that have been filed, please visit the Texas House website at www.house.texas.gov. Please know that I value your input, and always consider the feedback I have received from the district each time I cast my vote.
With that, here's the latest update from your State Capitol. . .
This week I filed a bill that I believe is long overdue. The bill, House Bill 3975, would provide a "thirteenth check" to our retired educators who haven't had a cost of living adjustment in well over a decade. As Texans, we owe our teachers a tremendous debt of gratitude for their years of service to our students and to our state. Recognizing that over 95% of our educators don’t receive any Social Security benefits and rely, in most cases, exclusively on their monthly annuity check to live and make ends meet, this bill would provide them with an extra monthly annuity check up to a specified amount. While this issue isn’t new, I’ve had productive conversations with our House leadership about this bill and I'm hopeful this session we can once again do something to provide our retired educators with a long-awaited cost of living adjustment.
In a similar fashion, the Texas House recently unveiled a bold proposal towards addressing a broken and inequitable school finance system. The legislation, House Bill 3, has tremendous bi-partisan support and is the product of over 12 months of extensive debate and discussion from school finance experts, legislators, superintendents, and teachers, including some from House District 57. The bill would add over $9 billion in new state funding directly to classrooms all across the state and would, among other things: raise the basic allotment per student, enhance PreK funding, and increase the minimum salary for teachers. Further, by increasing the state's share of public education funding, this proposal would help reduce the local tax burden placed on home and property owners to foot the bill for public education. As a co-author, and member of the committee tasked with vetting this legislation, I look forward to continuing the work to improve our broken school funding system by prioritizing investments that support classrooms, greater equity, local control and tax reform.