Education legislation was one of the biggest wins of the session, state Rep. Ed Thompson, R-Pearland, said in an interview with Community Impact Newspaper. Changes to education legislation are summed up in House Bill 3 and include a redesign of financing for school districts. The legislation also emphasizes salary increases for teachers.
“Certain districts did better than others but that is always the case. I think it is well thought out and is going to be much fairer in some cases,” Thompson said.
Other successful legislation revolved around transportation, Hurricane Harvey and recycling, Thompson said. The recycling legislation is only the start of talking about the topic, but does a lot to address what will happen with Texas’ recyclable plastics now that China will no longer be accepting them. The bill posits a solution by converting plastics into fuel.
“This bill puts Texas sort of on the cutting edge of the industry,” Thompson said.
While the bill may be a big step forward for the state, Thompson sees recycling as something the state will have to revisit next session, along with education, transportation and property tax reform, though he calls Senate Bill 2 a good start to address constituent’s property tax concerns.
“I think the big concern is always the appraisal issue. I don’t think we addressed that in this session. I think it’s always a moving target to see if there are ways to address those concerns that folks have,” Thompson said.
While Thompson is pleased with HB 3, he thinks with any new, large bill, it has to be revisited the next session.
“Hopefully in this next Legislative session we will look at how this House Bill 3 will be rolled out. There are always little things that we missed that we could fix,” Thompson said.
One regret from this session for Thompson is that more was not done with landfill regulations. However, the session did result in regulations that require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to conduct inspections on landfills before they release permits.
“I felt like a lot of those things were happening on a desktop. This gets people to actually go out and look,” Thompson said.