By Rep. Trent Ashby
As we say goodbye to 2022 and welcome 2023, my family and I want to wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and peaceful new year.
While most folks are winding down after the holidays, the energy has picked up around your State Capitol, as the 88th Legislative Session will officially begin on Tuesday, January 10. With that in mind, I’d like to remind you of some of the resources our offices provide to make sure that you remain the most important part of the process. Should you have any questions about a bill or want to voice your opinion on a proposal under consideration, our Capitol Office can be reached at (512) 463-0508. Our Capitol office can also help set up Capitol tours, reserve meeting rooms, or give recommendations on places of interest around Austin. Lastly, I invite you to visit your Capitol office which is located in room E2.806. It’s always a pleasure to have constituents in town while we’re hard at work in Austin, and I want to encourage you and your family to pay us a visit if you find yourself in Austin over the next 140 days -- our doors are always open!
With that, here’s an update from your State Capitol…
What to Watch For:
88th Legislative Session
Given the fast pace of session, keeping you informed about what’s going on at your State Capitol is a top priority for me. As such, the column will transition from a bi-weekly schedule to a weekly update to keep you up to speed with the best and most current information. With the start of the 88th Legislature upon us, perhaps it’s most appropriate to offer a primer on the basics of the Texas Legislature and highlight a number of key issues that legislators will aim to address.
The Texas Legislative Session begins in January of odd-numbered years and lasts 140 days. During this time, the Texas Legislature, comprised of a 31-member Senate and a 150-member House of Representatives, will consider policies on a myriad of issues and pass laws that seek to address the most pressing issues facing the state. And while there are many issues that need to be addressed, adopting a balanced biennial budget is the only act the Texas Constitution requires of the Legislature.
The State of Texas will enter the 88th Legislative Session with a significant surplus in revenue, which will play a major role in the upcoming session. As I’ve stated previously, the Legislature has the unique opportunity to use our budget surplus in a way that prioritizes taxpayers. Whether dedicating surplus funds to provide meaningful property tax relief, fully funding our public schools, or making strategic investments in infrastructure and technology, I believe the Legislature has an obligation to meet this moment of opportunity by crafting fiscal policy solutions that achieve the goal of prioritizing our fellow Texans while protecting and promoting future prosperity.
Aside from budget policy, other areas of focus will be addressing the teacher shortage, securing the border, increasing access to healthcare in rural areas, and generating economic development through the creation of meaningful jobs.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will post regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and share information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.