It is good to be home. 140 days does not seem like a long time – but when it comes in the form of a Texas legislative session, it’s a really long time!
The 86th session of the Legislature ended Monday and overall, it was successful. The Legislature passed a needed school finance measure that will put more dollars in our classrooms and increase compensation for public school teachers, counselors and librarians. I was proud to co-author this important education bill. House Democrats were able to successfully combat a regressive sales tax increase, attempts to erode voting rights and attempts to overturn paid sick leave rules.
Inevitably, there were also some disappointments. The Legislature again refused to address Texas’ high rate of uninsured. Property tax cuts should have gone all to homeowners; instead a big chunk of them went to businesses and it is unclear how they will be paid for in the future. Cities and counties will have a harder time providing basic services due to needless meddling by the Legislature. Several bipartisan criminal justice reform measures were killed in the Senate.
For my team and me, it was a very busy session. Between serving as the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and Chair of the Committee on Higher Education, we were constantly on the move. Despite the workload, it was definitely our most productive legislative session yet: we passed 17 pieces of legislation, including several measures to help students at Texas colleges and universities.
Below are some of the highlights. I am excited about the impact these new laws will have for all Texans – and I am very grateful to the people of House District 101 for giving me the opportunity to serve.