It has been a busy two weeks in Austin. In addition to being in session on the House Floor, we have met with a number of constituents who were in town for various advocacy days. Thank you to everyone who reached out and stopped by to share your concerns and priorities with us! In this edition of the Capitol Review, we are covering the following topics:
- House Committee Selections
- Recently Co-Authored Bills
- NASA Texas High School Aerospace Scholars
- Texas Historical Commission Diversity Internship
This week, the Sweetwater Jaycees brought rattlesnakes up to the Capitol.
They're keeping Austin weird, that's for sure!
HOUSE COMMITTEE SELECTIONS
Yesterday, Speaker Straus announced the House Committee selections, and I was honored to be named the Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Environmental Regulation. This will be my third term serving on this committee: one that is vital to our district. I was also humbled to be appointed to the House Committee on Transportation. As many of you know, I am a tireless advocate for transportation projects in our community, and this appointment is a big honor. I am eager to get to work on the important issues that will come before these two committees. You can see a list of all the committee assignments on the House Committee webpage.
It was an honor to have University of Houston Chancellor Dr. Renu Khator visit our office last week. Thanks for the great work you are doing at my alma mater. Go Coogs!
RECENTLY CO-AUTHORED BILLS
I have co-authored the following bills over the past 2 weeks: click on each bill number to learn more and follow the progress of the bills throughout the session.
- HB 100 by Rep. Paddie - enacts a statewide regulation of ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft.
- HB 200 by Rep. Burkett - prohibits partial birth abortions and regulates the disposition of fetal remains.
- HB 271 by Rep. Miller - allows for the use of hyperbaric oxygen treatment for veterans suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- HB 297 by Rep. Bell - designates January 9 as Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
- HB 367 by Rep. Bernal - allows school districts to voluntarily partner with nonprofits to donate surplus food to hungry students.
- HB 792 by Rep. Capriglione - aims to restore the original intent of the Public Information Act to allow Texas citizens greater access and transparency.
- HB 1072 by Rep. Lang - creates a closed primary system where a voter must be affiliated with a political party to vote in that party's primary election.
- HB 1156 by Rep. Davis, S. - "humane tethering bill" ensures that if a dog is tethered, it's done so in the safest and most humane way with the owner providing adequate food, water, and shelter.
- HB 1183 by Rep. Roberts - grants counties the authority to regulate or prohibit fireworks.
- HB 1290 by Rep. Roberts - requires state agencies to repeal an existing agency rule before they adopt a new regulation.
It was great to meet with several groups of teachers and administrators over the past two weeks! Pictured here are Bobby Martinez and Trent Thrasher, two principals from Alvin ISD.
NASA TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL AEROSPACE SCHOLARS
Every year I have the honor of nominating a select few students to participate in the High School Aerospace Scholars program at NASA. This is an immersive, educational experience for high school juniors and seniors that culminates with a six day summer experience at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Students will prepare for the program during the school year by completing interactive lessons dealing with all things related to space exploration. They will then be trained and mentored by NASA scientists and engineers to complete a pro-active design project and plan a mission to Mars.
Committed students interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics will thrive in this all-expense-paid, once in a lifetime experience. STEM programs such as these provide invaluable resources for both women and men alike that will stay with them no matter what path they choose in the future. I am always looking for more bright, eager minds to send to NASA. More information about the program can be found at https://nas.okstate.edu/has.
I'm a proud member of the Aerospace Caucus. Pictured, left to right: myself, Senator Eddie Lucio , Jr., Representative Dennis Paul, Senator Larry Taylor, and Representative John Cyrier.
TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION DIVERSITY INTERNSHIP
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) is accepting applications for the 2017 Diversity Internship Program. This is a paid internship opportunity for the summer of 2017. The deadline for applications and supporting documents is March 17, and if selected, in-person or online interviews will be held April 17-21, 2017.
The THC created the Diversity Internship in Historic Preservation to build interest in, and awareness of, careers in historic preservation, specifically among students from underrepresented cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. This initiative strives to encourage students' interests in the fields of history, preservation, architecture, archeology, downtown revitalization, and heritage tourism.
Working with THC staff, interns will learn about the impact that historic preservation programs can have on a community's economic development, and will gain exposure to various exciting vocational opportunities in the fields of historic preservation. The goal of the program is to increase the number of historic and cultural resources associated with the state’s diverse cultural history, as well as to increase communication with diverse organizations and communities involved in the historic preservation field served by public and private preservation programs. For more information on the duties involved, eligibility requirements, and how to apply, please visit this webpage.
Alvin Community College students and leadership came to Austin this week for Community College Day. It was great to meet so many accomplished students!
Independent Auto Dealers are an important part of our community, and it was a pleasure to meet with members of the Texas Independent Auto Dealers Association who were in Austin for their advocacy day.
Please contact us if you are going to be in Austin - we'd love to meet with you! Please follow me on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated and stay in touch. If you need assistance on any state-related issue, please contact my Pearland office at (281) 485-6565 or my Capitol office at (512) 463-0707, or email me at
Our office has a great group of unpaid interns that are working hard for the constituents of House District 29 this session. Pictured here is Ab Henry, a freshman at the University of Texas, after completing a massive mailing project for us. The internship allows students who are interested in government to learn about the inner workings of the Texas Legislature. When you visit the office or call us in Austin, you're likely to interact with some of our accomplished interns!
God Bless Texas!
House District 29