Updates from your legislators

Sen. Kirk WatsonSenator Kirk Watson, District 14

D-Austin • Elected: 2006
512-463-0114 • kirk.watson@senate.state.tx.us

Recent activity:

  • SB 754 allows money from the Motorcycle Education Fund to be used for motorcycle safety and “Share the Road” campaigns. The bill passed the Senate on May 5 and the House on May 22. The governor signed it June 16.

  • SB 188 and SB 189 aim to protect insurance policyholders from price hikes or cancellation for asking questions about their home, automotive or farm coverage. Both bills passed the House and Senate, and the governor signed SB 188 on June 16. SB 189 was sent to the governor May 30 and awaits his signature.


Sen. Judith Zaffirini • District 21Senator Judith Zaffirini, District 21

D-Laredo, Elected: 1987
512-463-0121 • judith.zaffirini@senate.state.tx.us

Recent activity:

  • Zaffirini sponsored HB 80, which would have made texting while driving illegal throughout the state. The bill fell one vote shy of passing in the Senate.

  • The senator sponsored HB 2634, which closed a loophole that reduced competitive bidding for construction projects. The bill was signed by the governor June 17.


Sen. Donna Campbell Sen. Donna Campbell[/caption]

Senator Donna Campbell, District 25

R-New Braunfels • Elected: 2013
512-463-0125 • donna.campbell@senate.state.tx.us

Recent activity:

  • Campbell said her biggest accomplishments of the session are more funding for roads, stronger protection of water resources, increased funding for border security and
    $3.8 billion in tax cuts.

  • Campbell said her biggest disappointment was not passing school choice legislation that would have established a grant program for students who choose to transfer to private school.

Rep. Jason Isaac Rep. Jason Isaac[/caption]

Representative Jason Isaac, District 45

R-Dripping Springs • Elected: 2010
512-463-0647 • jason.isaac@house.state.tx.us

Recent activity:

  • HB 2558 would limit the billing period of propane gas customers to 31 days. The bill is awaiting the governor’s signature after passing in the House on May 17 and the Senate on May 26.

  • HB 3405 would give the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District authority over groundwater in Hays County not regulated by the Edwards Aquifer Authority. The bill passed the House on May 11 and the Senate on May 22. The bill is awaiting the governor’s signature.

Rep. Paul Workman Rep. Paul Workman[/caption]

Representative Paul Workman, District 47

R-Austin • Elected: 2010
512-463-0652 • paul.workman@house.state.tx.us

Recent activity:

  • HB 21 allows patients with terminal illnesses access to experimental medications and devices that are in clinical trials. The bill passed the House on April 22 and the Senate on May 22. The governor signed it June 16.

  • HB 3994 prohibits physicians from performing abortions on minors without consent of a guardian, an order from a court or the existence of a medical emergency. The governor signed the bill June 12. The law takes effect starting
    Jan. 1.

Rep. Donna Howard Rep. Donna Howard[/caption]

Representative Donna Howard, District 48

D-Austin • Elected: 2006
512-463-0631 • donna.howard@house.state.tx.us

Recent activity:

  • Howard said her biggest accomplishments of the session are preventing large funding cuts to vital programs and preventing passage of any anti-LGBT bills.

  • Howard said she was disappointed to have not restored funding to the public and higher education budgets to pre-2011 levels, before the budgets were cut. She said she plans to continue to unify House members to address the budgets.

Rep. Elliott Naishtat Rep. Elliott Naishtat[/caption]

Representative Elliott Naishtat, District 49

D-Austin • Elected: 1990
512-463-0668 • elliott.naishtat@house.state.tx.us

Recent activity:

  • HB 1338, which by September 2017 establishes a training program for peace officers and first-responders for interacting with anyone who may have suffered a traumatic brain injury, was sent to the governor May 28.

  • HB 1807, which requires the state to list postsecondary educational programs for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, was sent to the governor May 29.

Rep. Eddie Rodriguez Rep. Eddie Rodriguez[/caption]

Representative Eddie Rodriguez, District 51

D-Austin • Elected: 2002
512-463-0674 • eddie.rodriguez@house.state.tx.us

Recent activity:

  • Eligible high school students can take as many dual-credit courses as they want under HB 505, a bill the governor signed into law May 23.

  • No final approval was granted for
    HB 1891, which would have allowed struggling schools to adopt a community schools system model used in other areas with success.


The school at the end of Sawyer Ranch Road is currently under construction. (Courtesy Dripping Springs ISD)
Dripping Springs ISD's newest school to be called Cypress Springs Elementary, helmed by Principal Kellie Raymond

Cypress Springs Elementary School is named for a group of springs near the district.

Austin ISD reported its highest number of COVID-19 cases the week of Jan. 4, but that number has decreased for two consecutive weeks, according to the district. (Courtesy Austin ISD)
Austin ISD sees 70% drop in on-campus students over past 2 weeks after district asks families to stay home

The district saw a 11,839-student decline in on-campus learning as AISD families opted for online learning from Jan. 12-22.

City officials are facing growing pressure to address the growing visibility of homelessness in Austin. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
Sanctioned homeless camp proposal gains attention from Austin leaders as pressure mounts

Mayor Steve Adler said the urgent need for shelter space and housing could overrule initial objections to sanctioned homeless encampments.

See how COVID-19 continues to impact Travis County. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Despite drop in hospital admissions, Travis County adds 4,039 new COVID-19 cases over past 7 days

Overall, Travis County has reported 65,507 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Last Stand Brewing Co. owner Jim Sampson pours a beer at the business's new South Austin brewery.  (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
After grueling year, South Austin beer industry sees new breweries, opportunities for growth

Local brewers speak to the challenges of opening during the pandemic, adjusting to new state rules and beer to-go sales.

Construction at Q2 Stadium is on schedule to be completed by late March or early April. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin FC will play at newly named Q2 Stadium starting this summer

Austin FC announced the naming partnership with Austin-based tech company Q2 Holdings Inc. at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 25.

The Contemporary Austin will host a virtual artist talk Feb. 3 with photographers Torbjørn Rødland and Philip-Lorca diCorcia. COURTESY SARAH SCHULTZ/CONTEMPORARY ATX
Austin Film Society presents drive-in Sundance Film Festival screenings, The Contemporary Austin hosts a virtual artist talk and more events in Austin

Austin Film Society is a satellite screen partner for the Sundance Film Festival, which normally takes place at a ski resort in Utah, but is screening films digitally and through partners around the country this year.

Hays County opened its COVID-19 vaccine portal Jan. 22. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Vaccine portal opens in Hays County; read Austin business news and more Central Texas info

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott said he will announce statewide plans to address homelessness that include camping bans. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin weekly roundup: Governor plans statewide camping ban, COVID-19 numbers flatten and more

Questions remain about the legality of the camping ban, which a local group is also hoping to get on the May 2021 ballot.

The Austin Community College District's 28,000-square-foot culinary arts wing is now open at ACC Highland. (Courtesy Austin Community College)
Second phase of ACC Highland campus opens in Central Austin

The campus is home to the Austin Community College District's Culinary Arts Department.