With many schools on Spring Break, it was great seeing so many young people visiting their Texas Capitol. I recently had the privilege of keynoting an address to a dedicated group of 4-H students who were in Austin this week for their legislative day at the Capitol. Rather than using their time away from school to relax and unwind, this hard-working group of students spent a few days engaging with legislators to learn about the legislative process and advocate for the issues that are important to them. As a proud 4-H parent, having an opportunity to watch our next generation of leaders in action was the highlight of my week!
With that, here's the latest update from your State Capitol. . .
This week I presented a bill before the Ways & Means committee that would eliminate the practice of unfairly appraising portions of land specifically designated for timber production. This bill, House Bill 1409, was brought to me by members of the Texas Forestry Association and seeks to address a critical issue facing their industry. Given the profound impact that timber production and silviculture have in East Texas, I'm proud to be taking the lead on legislation that would bolster protections for an industry that benefits so many folks in my district.
I also presented a piece of legislation before the House Natural Resources Committee this week. This bill, House Bill 1964, seeks to streamline the burdensome permit application process for amending certain water rights. This legislation was supported by the Texas Water Conservation Association and brought to me by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in an effort to increase efficiency by cutting through the burdensome red tape imposed on the application process for landowners.
In our longest hearing this session, the House Committee on Public Education adjourned around the midnight hour on Tuesday, after 12 hours of testimony on House Bill 3. As a member of this committee, it was encouraging to see so many passionate educators, parents, and other interested parties from around the state come to Austin to voice their opinion on this legislation. I am proud of the dedication this committee demonstrated throughout this hearing, as the entire committee continued to engage and ask important questions until the hearing completed. I look forward to working with this devoted group to bring meaningful reform to our broken school finance system, as we intend to vote this bill out of committee in the next week or two.
The mobile office is on the road this month and looks forward to seeing you on the following dates, in the following locations: March 20th at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crockett from 9:00-11am, or at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton from 1:30-3:30pm;
and finally, on March 27th at the San Augustine County Courthouse in San Augustine from 9:00am-11:00am.
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.