On Tuesday, I was in the Capitol for 22 straight hours until 6 in the morning working on the budget with my colleagues. Our budget is more than political math and bureaucratic accounting; it should be a reflection of our values and priorities. My vote for House Bill 1 came with many reservations about what this legislation says about the Legislature’s agenda.
Working into the morning hours, my colleagues in the House of Representatives heard dozens of amendments to our budget bill. Throughout the night, I teamed up with other urban area lawmakers to kill a set of amendments that would have stripped TxDOT funding for growing cities like Austin for purposes of light rail, commuter rail and the conversion of vehicle lanes to bus lanes and bike lanes. We simply can’t afford to take a single tool out of the toolbox when it comes to transportation options for our cities.
Texans deserve a budget that fully funds public education, expands access to health care and builds the infrastructure needed for expanded economic opportunities.
One of my amendments would have dedicated any extra dollars collected by the state (unexpended general revenue funds) to fund full-day pre-K education. This common-sense proposal was rejected by the Republican majority.
On the other end of the spectrum, members of both parties overwhelmingly voted to pass my amendment that would redirect state grants for peace officer training to nonpolitical organizations such as police academies, universities and law enforcement agencies. The budgeting process is far from over, and I am committed to fighting for a better budget in the coming weeks. Working families deserve nothing less.
Our Precious Resource: Water
As residents of my district, you may have heard or read about a water fight in our neighboring Hays County. My colleague and friend, Rep. Jason Isaac of Dripping Springs, has filed two bills this session that will protect an area of the Trinity Aquifer, which is currently being exploited for the benefit of a private company. The company has plans to pump out millions of gallons of water per day out of “white zones” that are currently unprotected and unmanaged in Hays County.
Rep. Isaac’s legislation will include expanding the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Groundwater Conservation District in my district to cover these white zones. That is why I am joining Rep. Isaac as a joint author of these two bills. This is complicated legislation that involves property rights and our state’s most precious resource: water.