Capitol Update: Celebrating Independence and Legislative Progress

Date:

On an unseasonably cool Thursday, July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress declared total independence from King George III and Great Britain. In doing so, the founding fathers threw off the yoke of tyranny, creating a new form of government whose power was to be derived only from the consent of the people they governed. Radical at the time, the actions of men such as John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson paved the way for the United States Constitution just 13 years later and what we know today as the longest-standing democracy in the world.

Next week, many of us will enjoy an afternoon cookout with family and friends, attend a patriotic parade, or celebrate with fireworks. While we celebrate our great nation, let us remember that we, as citizens of the greatest country on God’s Earth, must continue to strive to create a more perfect Union and make good on the promise of our Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

With that, we’ll dive back into our examination of House interim charges. . .

House Interim Charge: Appropriations

The House Committee on Appropriations has jurisdiction over bills appropriating money from the state treasury, bills containing provisions resulting in the automatic allocation of funds from the state treasury, and all matters of claims and accounts filed with the legislature against the state.

Over the interim, the Committee will study the funding streams from different sections of the state budget to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to determine where overlapping programs are most efficiently funded and placed. The study will also make policy changes to improve transparency and accountability between state agencies involved in programs under TEA’s jurisdiction.

The Committee is also tasked with monitoring the implementation and impact of additional funding to reduce the cost of higher education, funding for specific programs at medical schools, implementation and impact of additional funding for healthcare reimbursement rates, and programs assisting victims of crimes.

House Interim Charge: Pensions, Investments and Financial Resources

The House Committee on Pensions, Investments, and Financial Resources has jurisdiction over all matters relating to banking, savings and loans, the regulation of state and local debt, and the benefits and financial obligations of public retirement systems. The Committee also oversees many state agencies, such as the Finance Commission of Texas, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, and the Employee Retirement System of Texas.

The Committee has been charged with monitoring the implementation of SB 10, which provided a much-needed Cost-Of-Living Adjustment to retired teachers. I was proud to be a Cosponsor for SB 10 during the 2023 Legislative Session and was happy to see Proposition 9, which amended the Texas Constitution to enable the COLA, pass with 84% of the vote in November. Our retired teachers have given so much to this state, and it was well past time to help them with the continued rise in inflation for essential goods and services.  

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762 and my Capitol office may be reached at (512) 463-0508. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will be posting regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and sharing information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.

Rep. Trent Ashby
Trent Ashby is honored to be representing District 57 in the Texas House of Representatives. House District 57 includes Angelina, Houston, Leon, Madison, San Augustine and Trinity Counties. He can be reached at (512) 463-0508, (936)634-2762, or by email at trentashby@house.state.tx.us.

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