3) Senate protects teacher pensions
On Wednesday the Senate voted unanimously in favor of SB 1458 to assure the soundness of the Teacher Retire-ment System through a compromise agreement supported by Republicans, Democrats, teacher groups and other stakeholders. We were able to keep the $116 billion fund stable by instituting slight, phased-in contribution in-creases by teachers, school districts, and the state without changing the retirement age. In addition, the bill will allow a 3 percent benefit increase for many retired teachers.
4) New heart screening for Texas babies
In 2005 the legislature passed legislation to expand newborn screening in Texas from seven disorders to 29. Since that time, 746 newborn Texans have been saved from debilitating complications or death from genetic disorders due to early detection.
This week I was proud to vote for SB 740 to add Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) to the list of disorders for which newborn Texans are screened. The screening test for CCHD is non-invasive and uses equipment that is already standard in almost all hospitals. It is my hope that this new test for CCHD will help to save even more babies, allowing them to have healthy, productive lives.
5) Kree Harrison comes home to East Texas
Are any of you American Idol fans? Well my family is, and we have really enjoyed following East Texan Kree Harrison on this season's episodes. Kree is an extremely talented Woodville native who got her start as a child singing in local churches, rodeos, weddings and competitions. She has since captured the hearts of people across the country with her undeniable talent.
After making it into the "Top 3" on last week's episode, each remaining contestant was able to have a hometown visit in the place they grew up. Every viewer in America was able to watch as Kree went home to Woodville for a parade, concert, and other activities in her honor. This young lady from East Texas has made us proud.
Well done, Kree.