Capitol Update: East Texans in Austin and Pending Legislation

March 1, 2019

Superintendent Dr. Jerry Gibson of Marshall ISD along with School Board President Helen Warwick and trustees Cathy Marshall, Ted Huffhines, and Bettye Fisher

This week was another week full of East Texans in Austin!  I was pleased to welcome groups from Harrison and Cass counties.  While in Austin, we were able to hold meetings with leaders in energy, education, health care and several other important groups to facilitate a free flow of information and ideas between the folks making policies and the folks who work in these fields every day.

In addition to the county delegations, I was also able to meet with several local healthcare leaders, Marshall ISD leaders and educators, local sheriffs and local business leaders.  These meetings are essential for successful legislation.  I have always said that the best ideas for legislation come from back home and from those who are on the ground.

First meeting of the House Committee on Redistricting

This week I participated in the first hearing of the Redistricting Committee.  The work that this committee is doing now will lay the ground work for the decennial redistricting process in 2021, following next year’s census.  We heard testimony from the US Census Bureau regarding how the census operates and what we can expect from this process.  We also heard crucial testimony about voting rights laws that we help to ensure that we have the most fair redistricting process possible.  I look forward to the meetings that this committee will hold across the state which will give us insight into the varied concerns throughout Texas.

I am pleased to let you know that HB 1000, the Rural Jobs Act, will be heard in the International Relations and Economic Development Committee this coming Monday.  This is an important first step in bringing some significant economic development tools to our rural areas.  I look forward to the opportunity to advance this legislation as quickly as possible and get our neighbors access to the capitol they need to grow their businesses.  If you would like to watch this hearing, you can see it here, live on Monday or in archives later on.

Board members of the Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce

This week, I also joint authored the GROW Texas Act.  This bill recognizes the economic contributions of our oil and gas producing areas and redirects 9% of the severance tax back to a fund for the counties that produced it.  The money can be accessed for transportation needs, work force development or law enforcement issues related to the boom in oil and gas production.  This is a common sense measure that will redirect money to areas that not only have a great need for additional resources but are also the genesis of those resources.

This coming Friday, March 8th, is the last day to file legislation for the 86th Legislature.  If you have questions about legislation that has been filed or have ideas for legislation, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I can be reached at 512-463-0556 or