Capitol Update: Standing with Law Enforcement

May 18, 2019

We are into the single digit days of the 86th Legislative Session and while there are only a few days left, there is still a lot of work to do. We are very close to seeing the final version of the state budget, which will have significantly more funding for public education, including raises for teachers and funds for property tax relief. I will have a more thorough update on the budget once the final version is released.

This week the House passed SB 16 which will create a student loan repayment assistance program for law enforcement officers. We have a growing shortage of law enforcement officers across the state and this program will be instrumental in helping attract new men and women into law enforcement.

I was also proud to work on SB 14, which will encourage the deployment of broadband internet service in rural areas. One of the biggest disadvantages that we face in rural Texas is the lack of access to affordable high speed internet. As the world continues to become more connected and automated, it is going to be vitally important for rural areas to have access to this utility. It is my hope that with SB 14, rural Texas will be able to close the gap with urban areas.

This week, the House passed the remaining Sunset bills that I have spent the last interim and this session working on. This week we passed bills to improve efficiency and extend the Department of Public Safety, the Texas Veterans Commission, and the Department of Motor Vehicles, among others. One of the things to be looking for in the future is a study of what is the best way to operate drivers license program, with the understanding that the current situation is unsatisfactory and must be improved. This is an issue that I look forward to working on in the future.

We also passed a package of bills that will address flooding in the state of Texas. We passed SB 8 which will create regional flood mitigation plans, much like how we now have a state water plan that ensures we will have enough water as our state continues to grow at a rapid pace. SB 7 will provide low cost funding for counties and cities to complete flood mitigation projects across the state. With this statewide approach, the legislature is working to mitigate the loss of life and property damage currently sustained as a result of frequent flood events.

If there is an issue that you are passionate about or concerned about, please make sure to reach out in the final days of the session, it is only with your input that I am able to effectively represent you. You can reach me at or 512-463-0556 (Austin office) or 903-935-1141 (Marshall office).