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Ice storm slows work of the government

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Trent AshbyBy Rep. Trent Ashby

This past week, cities and counties all across the state experienced a winter storm that caused serious property damage and dangerous road conditions.

While, thankfully, most of our area avoided the brunt of the winter storm, I hope you’ll join me in praying for those who were affected and for the dedicated first responders and the utility and electrical workers who are working around the clock to assist our fellow Texans.

While the most recent winter storm caused its fair share of destruction, I think it’s important to highlight our state’s overall grid performance throughout the last week.

Due to the numerous reforms enacted during the previous legislative session in response to the winter storm in 2021, I’m pleased to report that throughout this most recent storm, our electric grid had more than enough supply to meet heightened demand.

Though many areas in Central and North Texas experienced widespread power outages, these outages were local in nature and were the result of downed power lines caused by fallen trees and heavy ice accumulation.

The grid’s performance and enhanced resiliency serve as a testament to the effectiveness of the policy changes made to ensure the safety and well-being of all Texans during major weather events.

With that, here’s an update from your State Capitol.

The winter storm covered Austin in sleet and ice this past week, causing the Legislature to delay its regular order of business. As the ice thaws and road conditions improve, members will be back next week and resume normal operations.

One item of interest that will occur in the very near future will be the announcement of committee assignments from the Speaker, which will create the framework for the first step of the legislative process. Once committee assignments are released, each respective committee will begin receiving bills for its committee members to consider.

A bill has to be heard and passed out of committee before it can be set on the House calendar to be considered by the full House membership.

Another hallmark of the legislative session on the horizon is the Governor’s State of the State Address, where Gov. Greg Abbott will outline his priorities for the session and provide the Legislature with our “emergency items.” Although the State of the State has not yet occurred, the governor’s recent inaugural address offers a good barometer for what might be on his list of priorities.

The governor, in his third inaugural address, emphasized that the historic budget surplus would be the focal point of this legislative session. The governor emphasized the importance of enhancing our infrastructure.

Whether making improvements to roads and bridges, our aging water infrastructure, or our technological capacity to connect with the rest of the world, I’m confident that infrastructure will be a priority this session.

The governor emphasized the need to improve public safety, including the prioritization of school security and mental health, bolstering our border security efforts, and supporting our local law enforcement officers and first responders.

The mobile office is on the road again and looks forward to seeing you on the following dates, in the following locations: Feb. 8 at the Polk County Commissioner’s Court Room in Livingston from 9-11 a.m., or at the Tyler County Courthouse in Woodville from 1:30-3:30 p.m.; Feb. 15 at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crockett from 9-11 am, or at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton from 1:30-3:30 p.m.

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/.

Trent Ashby represents District 9, which includes Trinity County, in the Texas Legislature.

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