Today, the Texas House of Representatives took up and considered various policy issues prioritized by Governor Abbott in his special session call. With final passage on these bills by the House, these issues are progressing quickly and efficiently towards becoming state law. We've got a recap on these critical matters below.
The data on the rise in criminal activity by repeat offenders out on bail in Texas is shocking. For example, in Harris County, 18,796 individuals were charged with new felonies or misdemeanors while out on bond in 2020. Senate Bill 6, also known as the Damon Allen Act in honor of the DPS trooper who was murdered by a criminal who was out on bail and had a history of violence, takes on several key reform issues, including adding transparency to the bail-setting process, creating a statewide framework for training and statutory guidelines, and ensuring accountability in the process to keep violent criminals off our streets.
As the Biden Administration continues to ignore the growing crisis at the Texas-Mexico border, the Texas House has stepped up to address the issue. With the passage of House Bill 9, we have committed $1.8 billion to securing the border, including:
$1 billion dedicated to funding border security operations through border security grants to local law enforcement.
$300 million dedicated to funding additional border security personnel.
$750 million dedicated to building temporary and permanent physical barriers along the border.
$11 million dedicated to purchasing ambulances at border security processing centers.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown that while the vast majority of students do better under traditional, in-person instruction, the switch to virtual learning during the pandemic worked better for some students. Senate Bill 15 seeks to expand the state's existing virtual school program, giving all school districts discretion to open and operate virtual learning programs.
Your freedom of expression should be protected no matter what platform you use. The Texas House passed House Bill 20 to protect your digital expression on social media.
The average retired teacher in Texas makes $34,475 per year and more than half of Texas’ 430,000 retired teachers have never seen an increase in their retirement payment. Our retired teachers deserve to be rewarded for their service in our classrooms. With the passage of Senate Bill 7, our retired teachers can expect a supplemental "13th check" payment of up to $2,400.