FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/30/2014
State Rep. Dan Huberty issues Interim Update to Community
Kingwood, TX- The Texas legislature meets on a biennial basis, but that does not mean the work ever comes to a halt. The interim period is essential to the legislative process. It is a time to conduct legislative research, continue to meet with committees, and begin to build an agenda for the upcoming session. There are numerous issues facing our state this interim and I have been lucky enough to serve on several committees that are extremely active in preparing and researching issues that are vital to the future of our state.
As always, public education has been one of my top priorities this interim. We have already conducted three hearings on various interim study topics that were passed down by the Speaker of the House, Joe Straus (San Antonio). During the 83rd session, House Bill 5 was adopted by both chambers and signed in to law by Governor Perry. This bill, authored by Chairman Jimmy Don Aycock (Killeen), is a new educational reform package for Texas. Starting this Fall, high school students will have several options for which path they would like to take to earn a high school diploma. Creating multiple tracks to graduation allows students, their parents, and counselors a great opportunity to find the educational path that best fits the student's individual learning and career goals. House Bill 5 is still in the implementation phase and what remains to be seen is exactly how the curriculum will look once it is fully in place. When asked about the new law Chairman Aycock stated, "Any tweaks to the law won't be discussed until later this year. Until then, the focus remains on implementation." There are many more important decisions to be made leading up to the 84th legislative session, but we must allow enough time for the full implementation of the new education system before we jump to any premature conclusions regarding its success or failure.
In addition to the Public Education committee, this interim I was selected by Speaker Straus to serve as a member on the House Select Committee on Transportation Funding, Expenditures and Finance. The committee is chaired by Representative Joe Pickett (El Paso), who has a great deal of knowledge regarding transportation infrastructure and funding. I am serving on the committee with nine other members who represent districts all across Texas. Transportation has become one of the most pressing issues in our state. Building transportation infrastructure to match our growing population is essential to the future success of Texas. In addition to the ever growing population demands, ensuring that proper infrastructure is in place for businesses to continue to grow and operate in Texas is yet another major concern of the committee. To this point in the interim, the committee has met once to consider the current state of transportation in Texas and to review the overall funding process. Chairman Pickett and his staff were instrumental in providing the committee with a fantastic panel of experts, including the newly appointed head of the Texas Department of Transportation, General Joe Weber.
I have also had the pleasure of serving on the House Committee on State Affairs this interim, which met in early May to consider campaign finance in the State of Texas and the issue of "dark money" campaign contributions. I am concerned that some contributions to entities that are actively seeking to influence elections in Texas are not subject to disclosure, while others are required to report contributions. It is essential to protect the integrity of our elections and that depends entirely on the ability of the public to be fully informed. During the committee hearing, Chairman Jim Clancy of the Texas Ethics Commission, gave very informative testimony on the matter of requiring disclosure of all donors to non-profit organizations. This is an issue that the committee as well as the rest of the legislative body will continue to monitor and review as we work toward the 84th Legislative Session.
My office and I are also in the process of developing new legislation to address many issues that impact District 127, the City of Houston and the state as a whole. We are conducting research on several diverse topics ranging from the sale of fireworks to the safety of high school student athletes. There will be many tough decisions that must be made during the 84th session. Legislators must work together to address many pressing issues that will affect our state long into the future. Water infrastructure, education reform implementation, transportation infrastructure and campaign finance are just a few of the issues that are important to every Texan. I am looking forward to working on a solution to these issues with many of the great leaders in our state to make the future brighter for all Texans.