The Texas Legislature will convene January 13 for its next 140-day session. We will have to respond to new information, challenges and opportunities in the coming months, but I would like to share with you the legislative priorities I'm working on:
Invest in Education
n Ensure our public and high-performing charter schools have the funding to hire and retain effective teachers and cover rising transportation and building costs.
n Enroll more eligible children in pre-kindergarten instruction and expand state investment in quality pre-k programs.
n Evolve the TAKS testing system to measure student improvement and better diagnosis classroom weaknesses for targeted assistance.
n Make college affordable by increasing investment in the TEXAS Grants scholarship program and building on new initiatives to help parents save for college.
n Ensure equal opportunity to access a quality college education by creating more quality higher education programs across the state, improving the bridge from community colleges to four-year institutions, and fighting for fair admissions policies for a broad range of students around the state.
Protect Air and Water
n Give Bexar County residents sustainable transportation choices by allowing them to vote for new funding sources that would create options such as light rail, bus rapid transit, bike lanes, green belts and other alternatives to the automobile.
n Reduce air pollution and long-term consumer costs through new energy solutions, including solar energy, more efficient schools and homes, and fuel efficient vehicles.
n Authorize our local governments to effectively regulate development that impacts the Edwards Aquifer, Camp Bullis and other community resources.
Value Work and Aspiration
n Ensure fair loans for working families in a pinch and small business owners.
n Authorize the Texas Department of Insurance to make sure employers and families have better access to affordable and comprehensive health insurance.
n Expand access to women’s health care and programs to reduce unplanned pregnancies.
n Help more single parents collect the child support money they need to raise their children.
Cultivate Smart Government
n Pass comprehensive appraisal reform that includes provisions for state oversight, better collection of market information on commercial property, and homeowner protections.
n Limit the total campaign contributions that any individual can make to state candidates.