The Great State of Texas
This week I wanted to try something a little different. I put together a short video that goes through some of the highlights of the current version of the budget. Click below to check it out!
Working through the state budget (House Bill 1) is a lengthy process. It takes months of work, dozens of hearings, and hours upon hours of debate on the chamber floor. Even now, the budget is still a work in progress. House Bill 1 works in conjunction with other legislation to direct funding. As you can imagine, a one-minute video can’t capture everything in House Bill 1 but if you want to know more click here for the details [Summaries]: http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/Session_House.aspx
I have 11 bills up for a hearing in the next three days! I’ll give an update on those in the following journal – this week I’d like to highlight my HB 3428. This bill aims to improve Alzheimer’s support. During the interim, a constituent had approached me about a situation that had negatively impacted the health of her husband. It became clear that there needs to be more focused training for those working with Alzheimer’s patients. HB 3248 would develop a training program for adult protective services employees on identifying and interacting with individuals who have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Last week my bill to improve public school safety (HB567) was heard in the House Public Education Committee. If passed, Robin Hood school districts would be eligible to deduct security improvements from their recapture costs.
I had a hearing on my bill (HB2251) to stop misleading television ads and to protect patients from being tricked into dangerous health situations. Check out a good report of my bill here: https://bit.ly/2JxC0Ew
Some good news from the State Affairs Committee. My bill to reduce lawsuits against the state defending open record requests (Hb2192) – and my bill to require registration of foreign-paid lobbyists (HB1785) were both passed out of committee!
Giovanni In District
When I am back home, I love visiting with folks, listening to feedback about our current legislation. On Friday I visited Keller ISD (Bear Creek Intermediate and Keller Middle School). I had the chance to hear from parents, admins, teachers, and students. I appreciated the support for House Bill 3 which is coming up for a vote this week – the bill that reforms public school finance (lowers property tax rate, reduces recapture, and puts more money into our classrooms). I’d love your feedback as well.
Giovanni Supports Retired Teachers
Our Pensions, Investments & Financial Services Committee heard testimony on HB9. With the current projected payoff period of 87 years, the Teacher Retirement System Pension Trust Fund is not actuarially sound. If left unaddressed, this system will never be able to fully pay its obligations. We are working to remedy this with not just a quick fix, but a long-term solution that ensures stability for our educators. HB9 would improve the pension funding mechanism. I intend to support this bill in committee.
I am excited to joint author HCR 19 (Herrero). A common issue brought to me by retired teachers relates to the loss or reduction of social security benefits. HCR 19 would urge U.S. Congress to repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) of the Social Security Act. The two federal provisions reduce full access of retirement benefits for public servants (Teachers) by reducing spousal benefits and withholding Social Security benefits they are entitled to and earned. Employees affected by the GPO may lose their entire spousal benefit, even though their spouse paid into social security for many years. In addition, the WEP has led to workers losing the benefits they themselves have earned. As a result, retired public servants receive less of the benefits they and their spouses have contributed to and earned.