By Representative-Elect Raul Torres
Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas — Freshman orientation was a whirlwind, and I learned just how fast paced the upcoming months will be. The Texas Legislature will consider a wide variety of topics when we convene on January 11, 2011. State budget issues and redistricting are on the top of the agenda, with a variety of other important issues including education and transportation.
In addition to becoming acquainted with my surroundings and new colleagues, I attended daily legislative policy meetings to better understand the variety of issues that we will face during the 82nd Legislative Session. I had the opportunity to get to know other Representatives from across the State & familiarize myself with the Capitol grounds.
This year will be difficult, and issues expected to dominate the session include the State budget, redistricting, education & transportation.
Feedback on the issues of the State budget, redistricting, education & transportation will be critical, and I hope that you will contact my Austin office in 2011.
In the meantime, please feel free to contact my local office at (361) 792-0294 or firstname.lastname@example.org. It will be a pleasure to serve you and the people of District 33.
The Texas Legislature will consider a wide variety of topics when we convene in regular session on January 11, 2011.
The 82nd Legislature will be writing a state budget for fiscal year 2012-13 that will have to close an anticipated multi-billion-dollar gap between state spending demands and expected state revenue. This gap exists because overall state tax revenue is lower than anticipated, some state expenses are more than expected, and federal stimulus funds used in the fiscal 2010-11 budget are not expected to be available.
Budget cuts have been implemented for state agencies and will continue, including budget cuts for State Legislators!
The Legislature will consider proposals to redraw district boundaries for State Representatives and Senators, the Texas Congressional Delegation, and the State Board of Education to reflect population shifts measured by the 2010 Census.
Lawmakers will have to follow certain state constitutional requirements and must incorporate equal population standards and prohibitions against racial and partisan gerrymandering.
The Legislature may consider changes to current methods of funding as well as class size requirements and accountability measures to increase student success and respond to the economic development needs of the State.
Lawmakers will likely consider proposals to secure revenue for state roads and bridges. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has estimated that projected levels of funding would leave no funds to authorize new highway construction after fiscal 2012 because available funds would be needed for already committed projects and ongoing highway maintenance.
Difficult decisions in 2011 are inevitable, and I promised during the campaign to listen to you.
I know that God will guide us in the months to come, and we will see a brighter future for all Texans!