There are now just over six weeks left till the end of the 82nd session of the Texas Legislature. It continues to get more and more busy, but it is such a privilege and an honor to be able to come to the capitol and represent the citizens of House District 35.
Perhaps the biggest news this week was the unveiling of the Texas House redistricting map by the redistricting committee. The United States Constitution requires a census to be conducted every 10 years. Texas received the information from the US Census Bureau earlier this session and is now redrawing maps for our congressional delegation, the Texas Senate, the Texas House and the State Board of Education to reflect the changes in the state’s population.
The House redistricting committee unveiled HB 150 this week which is the map for the newly drawn Texas House seats. Rural areas of the state lost House seats while the suburban areas gained seats. This was simply a reflection of the changes in the population over the last 10 years. HD 35 needed to gain around 16,000 people. In the proposed map, Jim Wells county was removed from HD 35 and shifted to HD 43 and HD 35 picked up San Patricio County to meet the needed population requirements. I also lost Karnes and Goliad County and picked up Duval and La Salle Counties.
It is important to note that this is just the beginning step in a still long process for determining the Texas House map. The bill must be voted out of the Redistricting Committee where it will then be sent to the full House to be debated and it is sure to be a spirited debate when that happens.
The House debated and passed this week the State Board of Education Map. The SBOE is composed of 15 members elected by districts throughout the state and is charged with overseeing our public schools. It is an extremely important board because it adopts rules and establishes policies that govern a wide range of educational programs and services provided by Texas public schools. The map now goes to the Texas Senate.
The House also debated and passed Senate Bill 18 which is the limiting eminent domain bill. Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court decision Kelo v. City of New London, the Texas Legislature has been working to try and protect private property rights for Texans. SB 18 was a big step in that direction. It may not be a perfect bill, but it will lead to greater protection of our private property in this state.
Also this week I had another bill voted out of committee, House Bill 1315. This bill would give the city of Jourdanton the ability to spend its hotel/motel tax revenue on upgrading infrastructure and building and maintaining a community center. This is a much needed change in the law given the substantial growth in the city due mostly to the development of the Eagle Ford Shale.
We’re approaching the home stretch for the session. The days are getting longer and there are more and more bills to read and debate. As always, I want to hear from the those who I have the privilege to represent. I need to know where you stand on the issues. Please contact my Austin office at 512-463-0645 or my district office at 361-354-7049 with any questions or comments that you may have.
HD 43 is currently made up of Jim Hogg, Brooks, Kleberg, Kenedy, Willacy and part of Cameron counties.