The 86th Legislative Regular Session has ended, and I’m proud to announce that many of our community’s priorities are now signed into law.
In addition to passing the state budget and finally tackling school finance reform, my main priorities this session were to streamline disaster recovery efforts, provide comprehensive reforms to our CPS and juvenile justice systems, among others.
Below are some of the highlights of passed legislation that I worked on this session:
- Disaster Recovery Task Force (HB 6): Establishes a statewide Disaster Recovery Task Force to operate throughout the long-term recovery period following natural and man-made disasters.
- Debris Management (HB 5): Requires TDEM coordinate with local jurisdictions to develop a catastrophic debris management plan and model guides for disaster recovery efforts, as well as a model contract(s) for debris removal in coordination with FEMA.
- Statewide Intake & Case Management System (HB 2330): Creates a study on the feasibility of creating a statewide case management program and streamlined intake system for state and federal disaster assistance.
- Disaster SNAP (HB 2335): Requires HHSC to collaborate with local governments to develop and maintain a list of potential sites that met federal in-person application requirements for SNAP benefits for disaster victims (D-SNAP).
- Institute for Disaster Resilient Texas (HB 2345): Develops the Institute for Disaster Resilient Texas under Texas A&M to develop data analytics tools to support all aspects of disaster recovery, and establishes a Flood Event Partnership Options Special Study Committee.
Protecting Texas Children: CPS and Juvenile Justice Reforms
- Judicial Guidance (HB 2737): Requires the Texas Supreme Court to provide annual guidance and recommended best practices for judges who preside over juvenile and family law cases.
- Mental Health in Schools (HB 18, HB 19): Transfers a list of recommended best practice-based programs and research-based practices regarding mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention in elementary, middle, and high public schools to the Education Code.
- Education for Pregnant/Parenting Youth in DFPS (HB 475): Ensures DFPS provide parenting education to pregnant or parenting youth.
- Foster Children/Homeless Children School Discipline (HB 692, 811): Prohibits school districts from placing a student who is homeless in out-of-school suspension.
- Foster/Homeless Youth ID (HB 123): Allows foster youth, homeless youth, and unaccompanied youth to use a birth certificate as proof of identity and US citizenship.
- CPS/APS Confidentiality (HB 759 / SB 1494): Protects the personal information of CPS and APS caseworkers and investigators, ensuring this information remains confidential.
Protecting Women and Children in the Criminal Justice System
- Care of Pregnant Inmates (HB 650): Prescribes certain requirements for TDCJ and creates standards regarding the care of pregnant and parenting female inmates.
- Limiting Use of Restraints on Pregnant Inmates (HB 1651): Requires the Commission on Jail Standards to adopt reasonable rules/procedures regarding the use of any type of restraints to control or restrict the movement of a prisoner who is confirmed to be pregnant or who gave birth in the preceding 12 weeks.
- Feminine Hygiene Products in Jails (HB 2169): Requires the Texas Commission on Jail Standards to adopt rules and procedures establishing minimum standards for the quantity and quality of feminine hygiene products.
While we were able to get quite a lot accomplished, much work remains for our community, and I am committed to serving District 137 in Southwest Houston. Please join me to help continue our progress.