This session has been one of the most contentious in recent years.
Despite the infighting and animosity between the chambers, this office
has achieved great strides for Bell County with effective leadership.
While the possibility of a special session remains unknown, residents
can rest assured that my priorities for Bell County have not changed.
This session, we were able to make sure that every Purple Heart
recipient was recognized through HCR 56. When signed by the
governor, this resolution will recognize Purple Heart recipients on
February 22 of each year. This was one of the early measures that was
supported thanks to input from Earl and Doris Williams, who brought
this important resolution to our attention before the session. Thanks
to bipartisan efforts and working with Senator Van Taylor, we were
able to get the resolution sent to the Governor's desk with
overwhelming support of the House of Representatives.
Other measures the Legislature took up were efforts to reduce the
penalty but increase the enforcement measures for illegal burning
(HB 1619). The potential for wildfires in our state is a consistent state
of concern for our forestry officials. This bill will give local officials
more authority in reducing illegal burning practices across the state.
Altogether, measures supported by this office ended up moving
through both chambers thanks to bringing multiple people to the
table to find common ground. Through these efforts, we were able to
support Charter School programs while increasing protective
measures for the Permanent School Fund. The state is pursuing an
interim study on the liability associated with contractors who are
forced to construct buildings with defective plans. The state is also
looking into fine‐tuning the accountability system for public schools.
In all of these efforts, we have also gained ground on important
issues related to school finance, blocking unfunded mandates for local
government and seeking to bring transparency to the property tax
system. The goals for this session will continue into the interim,
where the collective state resources will help us address property
appraisal caps, funding for special education and protecting the rights
of property owners.
I want to thank my staff, who made District 55 and Bell County the
priority this session. In the coming months, there will be
opportunities to voice other concerns as forums throughout the
community will continue. We must work together on solutions that
will continue to make Texas one of the best states to live in.