Updates from your local legislators

Here is an overview of activity from  your area elected officials on various legislation during the session.

Sen. Kirk Watson Sen. Kirk Watson[/caption]

Sen. Kirk Watson
D-Austin • Elected: 2006 • [email protected]

Watson supported SB 1, the 2018-19 state budget. The budget includes  an additional $500 million for Child Protective Services, a high priority for Watson coming into the session.

Sen. Judith Zaffirini
D-Laredo • Elected: 1987 • [email protected]

Zaffirini co-sponsored HB 62, which bans texting while driving in Texas. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 6. Zaffirini passed 108 bills in the session.

Rep. Dawnna Dukes
D-Austin • Elected: 1994 • [email protected]

Dukes was absent for more than 50 percent of the votes in the Texas House during the legislative session. She authored 25 bills, one of which was signed by the governor.

Rep. Gina Hinojosa
D-Austin • Elected: 2016 • [email protected]

Hinojosa sponsored a bill requiring municipalities to provide data on hotel occupancy tax funds annually. The bill was signed by Abbott and goes into effect Sept. 1.

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

Rep. Donna Howard
D-Austin • Elected: 2006 • [email protected]

Howard’s HB 394, which designates the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center as the state botanical garden and arboretum, was signed by Abbott on May 23.

Rep. Eddie Rodriguez
D-Austin • Elected: 2002 • [email protected]

Rodriguez’s HB 3281, which would allow the city of Austin to create homestead preservation districts and reinvestment zones, was vetoed by the governor June 15.

3 steps to follow when state special-called session begins July 18

1. Abbott said the special session will be limited until the Senate passes a sunset bill to extend the life of state agencies, including the Texas Medical Board, which licenses doctors. He said the Senate should be able to pass this bill in three or four days.

2. After the sunset bill's passage, Abbott enabled legislators to address 19 additional bills. One proposal addresses property tax growth, which Abbott said can be fixed via reform bill SB 2, which some considered to also be the solution to school finance reform.

3. Abbott also called to limit the local government powers by prohibiting tree regulations, capping new construction fees during projects and preventing slow permitting processes. Additionally, he asked legislators to consider enacting local spending caps.