85th Legislature Roundup
I earned the title of Freshman Floor Fighter this session because I stood up to ensure the voices of my district were heard in the battle waged between ideological agendas of a few and the interest of all Texans. Opportunities to help Texans on tangible issues that will help many families like, health care, education, transportation, and government transparency, were held hostage to persue an ultra conservative agenda that will hurt the Texas economy. From the beginning, the state's leadership decided to focus on "Bathroom bills", "Show me your papers" legislation, and an omnibus bill to limit women's reproductive health care options. This left little opportunity to pass legislation to fix our broken education system, our broken redistricting system, and our looming health care funding crisis.
Like you, I do not like our current political climate--but I know these circumstances will inspire you to join me in recommitting to change our political reality come November.
I started the regular session optimistic that a shared desire to serve the people of Texas would prevail over partisan politics. Unfortunately, partisan politics won out and our schools, local governments, workers, and those in need of access to health care lost. Unless we continue to fight for our priorities, I am afraid the special session will be no different. Already, the Governor has put a list of partisan issues on the call that will target vulnerable populations, jeopardize our public schools, and further erode local control. This is why it is now more important than ever to stay engaged on the issues you care about. Stay tuned for more information on upcoming District 49 events and events with members of our Travis County Delegation in advance of the special session.
I completed my first regular legislative session on May 29th and I must admit...it was a roller coaster with highs and lows, and twists and turns. As for the latest free fall, as you've already heard Gov. Greg Abbott called a special session for July 18th. But before I share my ugly prediction for the special session, I wanted to share some good news with you.
In a session where we were constantly fighting back against efforts to discriminate against Texans and cut crucial programs, I am proud that we were able to identify and pass meaningful legislation to improve the lives of all Texans. I worked hard with my amazing team and the support of many in my district to pass nine pieces of Legislation that are headed to the Governor’s desk.
This included four stand-alone bills, two additional bills that were amended onto other pieces of legislation and passed, and three amendments to the state budget. In recognition this hard work, I was named “Freshman of the Year” by the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus and “Freshman Floor Fighter of the Year” by Capitol Inside.
HB 3488 (B-CORPS): Creates a framework for "Benefit Corporations" - a new type of corporation that enables companies to pursue a public good in addition to profits. At a time when Texas is disinvesting in education, social services and public projects, I remain committed to fighting to invest in our community and priorities. B-Corps provides a new tool to help meet these needs with private dollars.
HB 1174 (ONRAMPS) (amended onto HB 22 & HB 1500): Promotes rigorous academic achievement by giving school districts credit in the accountability system for their students’ completion of the innovative OnRamps dual-enrollment program with UT and Texas Tech.
HB 3842/SB 1743 (TOPDD): Secures the continuation of the important work of the Texas Office for the Prevention of Developmental Disabilities by moving it to the University of Texas under the name “Office for Healthy Children."
HB 3280/SB 1221 (HOTEL TAX ACCOUNTABILITY): Creates greater transparency for how local municipalities raise and spend Hotel Occupancy Tax Funds, with the aim of encouraging more cities to fund crucial programs like the Arts. **Signed into law by Gov. Abbott**
Additional I passed legislation ensuring counties have the authority to create mental health courts (HB 3658/SB 1912), greater flexibility in obtaining drivers licenses (HB 3478, amended onto HB 3050), and greater funding flexibility for the State's “ACE Fund,” which supports workforce development projects like Capitol IDEA in Central Texas.