By Trent Ashby
Sen. Robert Nichols and I had the pleasure of welcoming friends and community leaders from back home for Lufkin/Angelina County Day at the Capitol. I look forward to this special day every session, as having familiar faces around the Capitol always lifts my spirits.
It also serves as a powerful reminder of who I work for and the issues that are important to our region. I want to thank all of those who made the trip down to Austin for this event, and I hope to welcome folks from other areas of the district in the near future.
With that, here’s an update from your State Capitol.
On Feb. 16, Gov. Greg Abbott delivered his biennial State of the State address, revealing his emergency items and priorities for the remaining 100 days of the 88th Legislative Session. What makes the State of the State so significant is the effect the address has on the legislative process.
Per the Texas Constitution, the Texas Legislature must wait 60 days before legislation can be brought before the House or Senate for consideration. However, any item the Governor declares an “emergency item” may be considered immediately by the Legislature.
While typically delivered in the House Chamber in a joint session with the House and Senate, this time the Governor delivered his State of the State address from a magnetics manufacturing company to highlight the state’s diversified and growing economy.
In his speech, the Governor highlighted the resiliency of the Texas economy, our booming energy sector, and laid out seven emergency items for the Legislature to consider.
As expected, the first item the Governor listed was to address skyrocketing property taxes. Taxpayers across the state have been burdened with skyrocketing property taxes. I applaud the Governor for making this a top priority, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to craft policy solutions that seek to reduce the property tax burden on homeowners and businesses.
Another item that is top of mind for the Governor, legislators, and indeed all Texans, is the issue of border security. With record numbers of illegal crossings at the border, it’s clear that more needs to be done to secure our southern border with Mexico.
Thankfully, both the House and Senate have demonstrated our commitment to supporting border security efforts by dedicating over $4.6 billion in our draft state budget to bolster our efforts to deal with the ongoing border crisis.
In a similar vein, the Governor also highlighted the fentanyl crisis, which is a result of increased smuggling activity at our southern border. With that in mind, Abbott made addressing the fentanyl crisis by increasing penalties and providing lifesaving overdose treatment to protect Texans as an emergency item this session.
I look forward to working with my fellow legislators to deliver on this emergency item to protect our fellow Texans and Americans from this deadly drug.
The mobile office, featuring our district director, is on the road again and looks forward to seeing you on the following dates, in the following locations: March 1 at the San Augustine County Courthouse from 9-11 a.m.; March 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. March 15 at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crockett from 9-11 a.m., 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.