Summer of Resistance in HD49
My first Interim here at the Capitol representing the constituents of House District 49 has been a demanding one. From Hurricane Harvey recovery, to the Southerland Springs shooting and the Santa Fe High School shooting, to the current refugee crisis on our border, our attention has been torn in so many directions.
In collaboration with the inspiring young people of March For Our Lives and the great advocates in Moms Demand Action, Texas Gun Sense and other organizations, the majority of my work over the Interim has been focused on gun safety.
The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee wrapped up a long hearing Monday where student advocates and survivors from Santa Fe and other parts of the state came to speak about the importance of safe gun storage and red flag laws. Though student advocates were not included in the Governor's School Safety Roundtables, they have tirelessly participated in committee hearings and even held their own press conference in the Capitol. If you haven't watched it, I highly recommend you hear what these impressive students have to say.
Here are some highlights from my Interim work -
- Since late 2017, advocates and I have worked with DPS on different ways it can promote safe gun storage. As a result, DPS updated and improved safe gun storage information on its website and now promotes safe gun storage in drivers license offices across the state.
- Published an op-ed in the Texas Tribune listing the 10 things we can do right NOW to prevent gun violence in Texas.
- Brought to light reporter Alain Stephen's investigative research on the City of Austin Police Department's practice of selling its weapons back out into the community at the March For Our Lives Austin Rally in March. The City passed a resolution on May 10th to stop this practice.
- Convened multiple meetings with advocates and young people to strategize on ways to tackle gun violence.
- Helped the March For Our Lives students in the organization of their press conference.
- Assisted the March For Our Lives students and activists in preparing for the Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools & School Security hearings in mid-June.
If you were not able to attend Monday's hearing, there are other opportunities for you to get involved. Tomorrow, Thursday, the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee is meeting to discuss two of the School Gun Violence charges released by Speaker Straus earlier this month.
The first charge will be at 9am and is a joint hearing with Defense & Veterans' Affairs. The committees will examine the experience of other states in prioritizing retired peace officers and military veterans for school security.
The second charge will begin 15 minutes after adjournment of the joint hearing. As instructed by the Governor, the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee will be reviewing methods to expand the number of teachers with guns in our schools. Both hearings will be held in the John H. Reagan building (1400 Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78701) in room 120.