Let’s Get to Work
The 86th Legislature is underway! So far this session, we've filed key bills on a number of important issues including ensuring that college campuses with over 10,000 students have a polling location, requiring charter schools to refrain from weeding out students with disciplinary records, and expanding access to long-acting reversible contraceptives. My additional legislative priorities this session will be working to ensure the school finance formula is more equitable for all districts, expanding voter access to all, common sense gun-safety legislation, and beginning the debate in Texas on Medicare for All. Learn more about the bills I’ve filed so far this session.
We should all be approaching this session with higher expectations than we had last session. This session Democrats are only 8 seats away from parity. This means, regardless of party, we have to work together to improve the lives of everyday Texans. Already this session, the Texas House has proposed pumping $7 million more towards our public schools.
On top of that, this session we have more Democratic women who are serving in the Texas House! These positive differences give me hope that this session will offer more opportunities to focus on important issues.
Earlier this week, Speaker Bonnen announced his committee assignments. I was appointed to serve in a leadership role as Vice-Chair of Human Services and as a member of Defense and Veterans’ Affairs. I am honored to continue in the tradition of my predecessor in office, State Representative Elliott Naishtat, who was Chair of the Human Services House Committee. I pledge to defend the basic health care rights of our most vulnerable Texans just as Rep. Naishtat did for so many years. You can view my press release about my committee assignments here. I'm looking forward to digging into important issues for these committees along with prioritizing school finance reform, public education, ensuring equal access to voting, Medicare for All, and more!
With public education at the forefront this session, Reps. Mary Gonzalez, Shawn Thierry, and myself wrote an Op-Ed detailing the inequalities within the school choice/charter school movement. Too many charter schools exclude children with disciplinary issues. As policymakers, it is our duty to ensure we are providing equitable educational opportunities for all Texas students. Please consider reading Whose Choice is School Choice?
Last week, we held our first HD49 engagement team meeting. We had over 70 people from HD49 attend! We’re still working to prioritize our legislative issues, and our focus includes school finance reform, teacher retirement benefits, expanding access to voting, Medicare for All, Medicaid expansion, and ensuring protections for members of our community who identify as LGBTQIA.
Our next meeting will be Tuesday, February 12 starting at 6:30pm. So if you would like to participate in our engagement team meetings, let us know by signing up here.
On Saturday February 2, the Central Texas delegation will be hosting two Legislative Town Halls. We will be hosting one town hall in South Austin and the second town hall in North Austin.
HB 95 would make the act of knowingly acquiring or attempting to acquire a firearm when an individual is prohibited from doing so by state and federal law a class A misdemeanor. The bill would also require federally licensed dealers to notify the Department of Public Safety (DPS) when a firearm sale has been declined due to the background check indicating the prospective buyer is prohibited from possessing a firearm. The intent of HB 95 is to close the gap in enforcement by allowing the state to step in and address criminal behavior where the federal government may be falling short.
Lastly, this session I’m also honored to have the help of an incredibly talented staff. They are the backbone of the office and we all are ready to put in the long hours. If you have any questions or a bill idea, please feel free to reach out to a member of my staff anytime or call my office at (512) 463-0668.