August 31, 2017

Special Session Update 8.11.17

Funding Innovative Programs for Public School Students With Autism

This week, the Texas House passed important legislation to fund a grant program for public school students with autism. House Bill 23 seeks to provide students with autism an innovative, personalized, and educational public school environment. Students with autism often require specialized attention in order to achieve instructional goals when compared to other students within public schools. These programs additionally have a limited ability to accommodate students with autism due to inadequate resources or a lack of evidence-based and research-based measures directed at helping these students. This grant program would set aside $20 million for the biennium through the Texas Education Agency . These grants would be awarded based on the decision of a panel comprised of the commissioner and external stakeholders, including parents of students with disabilities.


Important Legislation From This Past Week

This week, the House passed House Bill 179 which would create a residence homestead property tax exemption for qualifying disabled first responders. Additionally, we passed House Bill 214 affirms Texas' right to prohibit coverage for abortions offered through the federally mandated exchange, except for medical emergencies. Senate Bill 5 aims to curb mail ballot fraud. Finally, House Bill 331 seeks to ensure that homes damaged in a disaster are appraised and taxed fairly by requiring all property estimated to have sustained five percent or greater damage as a result of a disaster to be reappraised at market value immediately after the disaster.


Meeting with Commissioner of Education, Mike Morath and Senator Larry Taylor

On Thursday, I met with Senator Larry Taylor and Commissioner of Education Mike Morath. We discussed several important issues involving education and education funding.


Honoring George Black

On Thursday, I honored George Black on the House Floor. I presented House Resolution 281 in memory of Mr. Black.