Columns

Thu
14
Feb

Governor gives lawmakers list of emergency items to tackle

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

Gov. Greg Abbott named as his emergency priorities education reform, teacher pay, school safety, property tax reform, mental health services and disaster response in his Feb. 5 “State of the State” address to a joint session of the Texas Legislature.

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Thu
14
Feb

Gearing our students up for success

HURD ON THE HILL

As your Representative, one of my top priorities is making sure Congress enacts policies that create economic opportunity and give every family a chance at the American dream.

 

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Thu
07
Feb

Senate committee starts work on property tax reform

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

Voters would have the power to prevent their local governmental bodies from increasing property taxes by more than 2.5 percent per year under legislation introduced in the Texas Senate and House on Jan. 31.

Senate Bill 2 and identical House Bill 2, both 116 pages in length, propose to amend the current law, in which local taxing authorities may increase taxes up to 8 percent each year before a rollback election would be required. Cries for relief are widespread, given the leeway current law affords and the fact that county appraisal districts may increase the value of property at the same time.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, said, “People desperately need property tax reform, our businesses need property tax reform, and we have set out, on this date, early in session, with a major piece of legislation. We are setting the tone for the rest of the session on this issue,” Patrick added.

 

 

Thu
07
Feb

Develop partnerships

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Dear Editor,

Pearsall and Dilley ISD trends stated in the Texas Education Agency 2019 report suggest that 50% of students should graduate with a vocational certificate by 2030 and 10% should be ready to go to college (TEA recommends 60%).

Our schools average low on all college exams and most will not complete college. Our local ISD’s should develop partnerships with local non-profits to be more inclusive and progressive.

 

 

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Thu
31
Jan

Senate Finance panel starts work on state budget

By: ED STERL

Jane Nelson, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, on Jan. 22 said she would follow an aggressive agenda to deliver a budget ready for floor debate by the end of February.

“There are a lot of things this committee and the full Senate will decide to add, subtract, change, before we actually recommend out of this committee a budget,” she said. At the top of the list are school finance and property tax relief.

Nelson, R-Flower Mound, has chaired the powerful committee for three consecutive sessions. On Jan. 15, Nelson filed Senate Bill 1, a base budget for the 2020-2021 biennium, and scheduled daily meetings for the panel to consider the particulars that go into a document that typically exceeds 1,000 pages in length.

Thu
31
Jan

Weather Whys

Yes it is, says Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University. “An ice storm is a storm with large amounts of freezing rain that quickly coats trees, roadways, power lines, and other objects with ice,” he confirms. “They result from the accumulation of freezing rain, which is rain that becomes supercooled and freezes upon impact with cold surfaces.

“Supercooled means that the rain must be in a liquid state at temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Water must have something to freeze onto when temperatures are below freezing. Once this rain - which is colder than 32 degrees - falls on an object that is below freezing, it will instantly freeze on that object and form a sheet of ice.

“As ice forms, it helps to freeze other raindrops that fall onto the sheet, and this process helps freezing rain accumulate quickly.”

What causes an ice storm or freezing rain?

 

Thu
24
Jan

State’s top elected officials take oaths of office at inauguration

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

Public officials and private citizens gathered at the south steps of the state Capitol on Jan. 15 to for a day’s worth of inaugural events, most notably the administering of oaths of office to Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who were reelected to four-year terms in November.

In his inaugural address, Gov. Abbott predicted the 86th regular session of the Texas Legislature, which convened on Jan. 8, would be “transformative.” He said that with the help of Lt. Gov. Patrick and newly elected House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, leadership would “usher in a new era for children, teachers and taxpayers.”

“We must finally rein in skyrocketing property taxes in Texas,” Abbott said. “To fix this, Texas must limit the ability of taxing authorities to raise your property taxes. At the same time, Texas must end unfunded mandates on cities and counties. And taxpayers should be given the power to fire their property tax appraiser.”

Thu
24
Jan

A renewed sense of vigor

STATE OF THE DISTRICT

As we begin the New Year, I want to reflect on 2018 and highlight some of the accomplishments and goals of your district attorney’s office for 2019.

Since taking office in 2017, there’s been a renewed sense of vigor and justice in the courthouses throughout the district. The district judges, district clerks’ offices, and community members serving on both grand juries and jury trials have all worked diligently to ensure the wheels of justice turned smoothly and swiftly.

We want to continue that momentum.

 

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Thu
17
Jan

House elects new speaker as legislative session kicks off

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

The 86th Texas Legislature convened on Jan. 8 with all its customary ceremonies and recognitions— chief of which was the unanimous election of a new House speaker — Angleton Republican Dennis Bonnen.

On Jan. 9, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, and Speaker Bonnen announced their joint commitment to passing legislation that would improve how public education is funded. That arduous and heretofore divisive task means rethinking and recalibrating what share of the cost would be funded by local property taxes — public education’s primary source of funding.

Thu
17
Jan

Back to work

HURD ON THE HILL

It is the privilege of a lifetime to continue serving as Representative of the good folks of the 23rd District of Texas. My bosses are each of you, the nearly 800,000 people I represent across the 29 counties of TX-23, and I fundamentally cannot perform my job without your regular feedback. Listening to your concerns and answering your questions informs my votes and allows me to make sure your voice is heard in Congress. And as I head back to Congress this week, I can assure you my team and I will continue to work hard and across the aisle to deliver real results back home for South and West Texans.

On the plane back to Congress earlier this week I took some time to reflect on the productive year my team and I had. During the 115th Congress, I’m proud that five of my bills passed in a bipartisan manner out of the House and Senate, and were signed into law by the President.

 

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