Fighting the Fentanyl Crisis
Fentanyl is pouring into Texas from our southern border and the Texas House has made combatting this deadly drug a top priority this session. I was proud to co-author House Bill 6, which will push back on the manufacturing and trafficking of fentanyl. HB 6 increases the penalty for manufacturing or delivering less than one gram of fentanyl to a third degree felony, deterring the creation and distribution of this deadly drug.
Preserving Fairfield Lake State Park
I am thrilled to share with you the exciting news that the legislation I authored to preserve Fairfield Lake State Park in Freestone County was passed overwhelmingly in the Texas House of Representatives. This is a huge victory for our community and for the protection of this beloved State Park, which welcomes 80,000 visitors a year and is a point of pride for the county. The State of Texas has invested $70 million in the preservation and operation of this beautiful natural resource. With the passage of House Bill 4757, Texas Parks and Wildlife will have the power and authority to ensure that this state park will continue to be preserved for generations to come. Our bill now heads over to the Texas Senate and then on to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
The House is taking great strides in protecting our schools across the state. This week we passed HB 3 and HB 13 to empower school districts to better protect students and teachers in the classroom by enhancing school safety standards, procedures, emergency planning, and providing school staff the training, resources, and authority they need to actively protect schools.
HB 3 ensures that at least one armed security guard must be present at each Texas school and provides $15,000 to each public school campus to fund school safety and security measures. With HB 3, the roles and responsibilities of the Texas School Safety Center and the Texas Education Agency are also clarified so that school safety standards are properly enforced. HB 13 devotes more resources to mental and behavioral health, raising the school safety allotment to $100 per student and requiring greater training for our educators to better detect the signs of mental health intervention and school safety threats. The Texas Legislature is committed to protecting our students, teachers and school employees across the state.
I am proud to be a co-author on HB 9 which establishes the Texas Broadband Infrastructure Fund to facilitate affordable and universal access to high-speed internet. This is a crucial step toward enhancing the quality of life for Texans while also boosting their economic prospects. By increasing internet access across the state, HB 9 will open up a world of possibilities for Texans to thrive and prosper. The Broadband Infrastructure Fund was passed by the House on April 27 and will be considered by the Senate soon.
Falls County Aggie Muster
Last week I had the privilege of speaking at the Aggie Muster in Marlin as we remembered those who have passed on in the past year. Muster is the Texas A&M tradition that forever unites the Aggies past with the Aggies present. It is Texas A&M’s most solemn and most visible tradition. Muster was first held on June 26, 1883, when former students of Texas A&M gathered together to “...live over again our college days, the victories and defeats won and lost upon drill ground and classroom. Let every alumnus answer a roll call.” No matter where Aggies are, whether it is as few as two or as many as the thousands who gather on the university’s campus, they come together each April 21 for Muster. At each Muster ceremony around the world, a speaker addresses the crowd before the “Roll Call for the Absent.” Names of those from that area who have died in the past year will be read, and as each name is called, a family member or friend will answer “Here” to show that Aggie is present in spirit. Then, a candle will be lit.
Meridian High School Band Capitol Performance
The Texas Capitol was graced with a performance by the Meridian High School band in the rotunda! They are an amazing example of a rural Texas public school. Special shout out to Band Director Daniel Y who certainly knows his way around the Capitol and music. Thanks for bringing your students to their Capitol--the look on the faces of folks in the rotunda when they played was priceless!
Property Tax Relief
I am proud to be a co-author on House Bill 2, also known as The Property Tax relief Act, which is poised to deliver the largest property tax cut in Texas state history. The proposed law will reduce school district property taxes and impose a 5% cap on annual appraisal increases, saving property owners hundreds of dollars each year. The Texas House passed HB 2 and it has been sent to the Senate. This marks a significant step towards its passage and the delivery of tax relief to property owners across the state!