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Shine Die: Wrapping up a successful return to the Texas Legislature

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.

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