The special legislative session called by Governor Greg Abbott is underway and has been a sprint in the Senate. My colleagues and I convened on the Senate floor or in committee almost every day since July 18th, including the weekends.
Of the measures we have considered, most were passed along party lines, with Democrats opposing, except for a bill providing a small one-time bonus to teachers and premium assistance for retired teacher’s healthcare—that bill received wide bi-partisan support.
Even though I did not support measures such as vouchers (SB 2), the anti-tree bill (SB 14), or the bathroom bill (SB 3), among others, I did author many common-sense amendments to make the bills a little better. Unfortunately, these amendments, and nearly all amendments authored also went down along party lines--no matter their merit.
To the detriment of our state, the race to get the bills passed over to the Texas House as quickly as possible has eclipsed the willingness to deliberate and incorporate feedback from the public. Some Senators even remarked they were not authorized to make changes to their own legislation!
I will not be deterred. I am working with House members to have a few good amendments considered, and as of this writing, one has already been adopted on to the House companion bill, House Bill 13.
The public has been persistent in demanding their voice be considered, even if the process has been expedited and limits their chance to engage. Our office has received phone calls, email, and letters from hard working men and women across Senate District 19, along with insight from community leaders, business leaders, and elected officials. I look forward to responding to each. As always, if you care about any issue before the legislature in the special session, please contact my office to provide input.
When the special session concludes, I look forward to getting out into District 19 and visiting with the amazing constituents I am fortunate to represent. While we’re here in Austin, my staff is busy attending Back to School and Health Fairs in counties across District 19. They keep me updated and send pictures from each event.
I may be missing out on the delight of presenting an excited kid with school supplies and seeing their face light up, but I know fighting to increase the quality of their education and the availability of resources available to our schools is important for not only each child individually, but for the future of Texas—and that’s why my number one priority is, and always has been our children.
I sincerely hope that when the special session concludes I am able to report back and tell you I was able to vote on measures that will have a lasting positive impact on our community, provide for job growth, and strengthen our state economy. That looks doubtful, and therefore I will most likely be voting NO a lot over the next few weeks. The communities in District 19 deserve more than the buffet of divisive issues that are being offered up on the special session call.