"Whooah, we're half way there, Livin' on a prayer." Monday was the half-way mark of the Legislative session- day 70 of 140. Getting to this point reminds me we have done a lot of work, but still more lies ahead.
Thankfully, we had a very productive week filled with lots of action in both the House and Senate.
Five things that happened this week at your Texas Capitol are:
This week the Senate approved a $195.5 billion budget for the coming two years on a 29-2 vote. Passing a balanced budget is the only thing the legislature is constitutionally required to do each session, and I am pleased that this budget addresses many of the areas we set out to address. Thankfully, we were able to restore funding this session to many areas which have suffered over the past two years.
Among those areas, the budget restores some funding to public schools, colleges, mental health services, and the women's health program. It does all this without touching any money in the state's rainy day fund, which I consider to be a wise and fiscally conservative measure.
This week the Texas Retired Teachers Association had their day at the Capitol, and wow, was it a success! Wearing their red t-shirts, they seemed to be virtually everywhere around the building, visiting with legislators and advocating for their legislative agenda. I was excited to get to meet with many of them from various parts of Senate District 3 and to discuss the issues they felt important.
I am sure each of us can think of teachers over the course of our academic careers who made a significant impact on our lives and who we will never forget. As I sat on the Senate floor and looked up at the sea of red t-shirts in the gallery, it occurred to me that each of these individuals represent hundreds, if not thousands, of Texas schoolchildren who they have influenced. They have done our state an invaluable service and have my respect and gratitude.