With the 88th Legislature entering the final 30 days of session, the House is hard at work hearing and debating a wide range of bills on the floor and passing several key priorities. Please stay tuned as I provide insights on the latest developments during these last few weeks of session.
With that, here’s an update from your State Capitol.
I am very pleased to report that House Bill 9 overwhelmingly passed the Texas House this past week. As the author of House Bill 9, I am proud to have played a role in advancing this important legislation, and I am grateful to the Speaker and my colleagues in the House for their support. As you may know, House Bill 9 proposes a significant investment in expanding and developing broadband infrastructure throughout the state. This bill is part of a larger effort to prioritize broadband infrastructure funding as a means to increase access and affordability to this essential service. The Texas House also passed House Joint Resolution 125, which works in tandem with HB 9, to establish the Broadband Infrastructure Fund. This dedicated fund will support the expansion of connectivity across Texas, reduce costly fees on monthly phone bills, and provide critical support for programs such as 911 services and school safety initiatives.
This investment in broadband infrastructure will contribute to greater economic prosperity throughout the state. The bill now heads to the Senate for the next phase of the process.Another House priority bill that recently passed was HB 11 which enhances the state’s teacher recruitment, preparation, and retention policies. The legislation includes various provisions such as making children of Texas teachers eligible to receive free public school pre-K, reducing certain certification costs, and establishing a new residency pathway to the teaching profession.
Another criticaal component of this bill is increasing the Teacher Incentive Allotment’s base amount and cap, enabling more teachers to qualify for incentives. These proposals will help attract and retain more qualified teachers, improve their professional development opportunities, and provide other benefits for educators in Texas.The House Chamber also passed two bills that improve school safety and security. House Bill 3, among other things, enhances coordination between schools and state agencies for safety audits and emergency operations plans.
The bill requires school facility safety reviews to ensure best practices are implemented. House Bill 13 establishes the state school safety fund and provides grants to districts or open-enrollment charter schools to enhance school safety. Additionally, the bill improves mental health first aid training programs and requires school districts to establish clear communication for reporting concerning behavior in their emergency operations plans.
The mobile office is on the road again and our District Director will look forward to seeing you on the following dates, in the following locations: May 3 at the San Augustine County Courthouse from 9-11 a.m.; May 10 at the Polk County Commissioner’s Court Room in Livingston from 9-11 a.m., or at the Tyler County Courthouse in Woodville from 1:30-3:30 pm; May 17 at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crockett from 9-11 a.m., or at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton from 1:30-3:30 pm;As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762 and our Capitol office at (512) 463-0508. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will post regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and share information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.