Updates from your state legislators—May 2015

Sen. Charles Schwertner • District 5Sen. Charles Schwertner • District 5

Recent activity:
SB 133, which relates to mental health first aid training for school district employees, passed the Senate in March. The House version passed out of committee May 12. SB 239, which relates to student loan repayment assistance for certain mental health professionals, passed out of the Senate on April 27.

Elected: 2012
[email protected]

Sen. Kirk Watson • District 14Sen. Kirk Watson • District 14

Recent activity:
SB 1032 would allow state employees to work flexible hours or to work from home in order to ease rush-hour traffic congestion. The bill passed the Senate on April 22, and it was released from the House State Affairs Committee on May 15. The bill awaits a vote in the House. HB 1510 would protect landlords from liability when they rent to tenants with criminal records. The bill passed the House on May 5 and was released from the Senate State Affairs Committee on May 19. It awaits a vote in the Senate.

Elected: 2006
[email protected]

Rep. Dawnna Dukes District 46Rep. Dawnna Dukes • District 46

Recent activity:
Dukes sustained injuries during an August 2013 car accident that have resulted in her absence at the Capitol for about a month, she said. “My injuries began to seriously deteriorate to a level inconveniencing my ability to be fully mobile ... without excessive amounts of medication and pain management,” she said in an April 28 Facebook post. “I am fully in communication and interfacing with my staff to do the people’s business.”

Elected: 1994
[email protected]

Rep. Paul Workman • District 47Rep. Paul Workman • District 47

Recent activity:
HB 910 would allow Texans with a concealed handgun license to openly carry guns. It passed the House in April and was released from the Senate State Affairs Committee on May 19. It awaits a vote in the Senate. HB 984 would allow adults born in Texas and adopted as minors to obtain their original birth certificate without a court order. The bill passed the House on April 15, and it was released from the Senate State Affairs Committee on May 18. It awaits a vote in the Senate.

Elected: 2010
[email protected]

Rep. Donna Howard • District 48Rep. Donna Howard • District 48

Recent activity:
The Senate passed HB 426 on May 20. The bill reconfigures the Work in Texas website for easier usage for applicants. The House passed HB 964 on May 17. The bill amends the tax code relating to the calculation of the rollback tax rate for school districts. The Senate passed HB 1902 on May 20. The bill address the regulation and use of gray water.

Elected: 2006
[email protected]

Rep. Elliott Naishtat • District 49Rep. Elliott Naishtat • District 49

Recent activity:
A public hearing was held May 20 for HB 1807, which requires the state to list all postsecondary educational programs for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
HB 3183, an advance directive and do-not-resuscitate order of a pregnant patient—also known as Marlise’s Law—was left pending in a committee despite an April 15 public hearing.

Elected: 1990
[email protected]

Rep. Celia Israel • District 50

Rep. Celia Israel • District 50

Recent activity:
HB 1324 directs the Texas Department of Transportation, in coordination with the Department of Public Safety and local transit authorities, to implement the Buses on Shoulders pilot program in Travis, Bexar, El Paso and Tarrant counties. The bill passed out of the House on May 7. HB 594, which incentivizes semitrailers to use SH 130, passed out of committee April 22.

Elected: 2013
[email protected]

Rep. Tony Dale • District 136Rep. Tony Dale • District 136

Recent activity:
On May 15 the Senate passed Dale’s bill, HB 115, to award the Texas Purple Heart medal to victims of the Nov. 5, 2009, attack at Fort Hood. The bill was sent to the governor’s office May 20. Dale’s bill requiring state agencies to participate in a federal program to verify employees, HB 183, was passed out of committee May 4 and is moving forward in the House.

R-Cedar Park
Elected: 2012
[email protected]


Opening day at Q2 Stadium
US men’s soccer team to visit Q2 Stadium this fall

The U.S. men's national team will host Jamaica for a FIFA World Cup qualifier game on Oct. 7.

Capital Metro is hosting a series of virtual meetings to hear feedback from the community on the latest Project Connect designs. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Capital Metro seeks community input on latest Project Connect design

Want to have your voice heard about Project Connect? Tune in to the upcoming virtual meetings.

Dozens of Austin residents spoke virtually and in person July 22 to share their thoughts on the city's proposed fiscal year 2021-22 budget. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Police funding again takes center stage in public hearing on Austin's proposed FY 2021-22 budget

Dozens of city residents calling into or appearing at City Hall on July 22 shared their thoughts about policing and the city's spending plan.

Round Rock ISD announced July 22 that a virtual learning option would be provided for students in kindergarten through sixth grade, citing COVID-19 vaccine availability and Williamson County's recent increase in reported cases. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Round Rock ISD announces virtual learning for grades K-6 this fall

Round Rock ISD announced July 22 that it will offer virtual learning for students in kindergarten through sixth grade and release its COVID-19 safety plan July 29.

Mortgage purchase applications are down year over year, but the Austin housing market remains hot. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin housing market still hot but showing signs of slowing down

Experts say that a decrease in mortgage purchase applications points to “a reversion back to norm” in the Austin housing market.

Peter Lake (left), chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and Brad Jones, interim president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, provided an update on state regulators' electric grid redesign efforts in Austin on July 22. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Regulators: Texas electric grid prepared for potentially record-breaking demand next week; 'once-in-a-generation reforms' underway

The heads of the agencies in charge of the Texas electric grid met in Austin on July 22 to provide updates on their grid reform efforts.

Z'Tejas margarita
Where to celebrate National Tequila Day this year around Austin

From mezcal bars to frozen margarita specials, here is a list of places to celebrate National Tequila Day on July 24.

St. David's CareNow Urgent Care
St. David's CareNow Urgent Care opening new Northwest Austin clinic in August

This new clinic location will offer sports physicals, medical tests and other health care services.

Project Connect's Orange Line will go beneath Lady Bird Lake in the latest design. (Rendering courtesy Project Connect)
Into the bedrock: Capital Metro plans to go below Lady Bird Lake with Orange Line tunnel

The tunnel presents a few options of where the train could emerge near South Congress.

Chief Jeff Yarbrough said he and Assistant Chief Jim Williby will travel to New Orleans on July 29 to present the department’s four-pillar policing model, which focuses on school safety, racial equity, behavioral health and student advocacy. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Round Rock ISD police chief to present department model at national conference

Round Rock ISD Police Chief Jeff Yarbrough and Assistant Chief Jim Lewis will present their department's four-pillar policing model at a national conference.

WCCHD vaccination drive
Outside consultants to review programs, performance of Williamson County’s health district

The firm will review services and programs offered by the Williamson County and Cities Health District as well as the performance of different departments.

My Steel Magnolia boutique opened in July. (Courtesy West Austin Chamber of Commerce)
Boutique My Steel Magnolia opens in July

My Steel Magnolia is now open in Austin's Four Points region. The boutique offers a variety of apparel, accessory and decor options.