The featured speaker at last Friday’s North Channel Chamber luncheon was State Representative Ana Hernandez, who represents the 143rd District in Texas. Her district covers part of Houston, Channelview, Galena Park, and Jacinto City. She serves on the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence, and on the House Committee on Pensions. She is currently serving her fifth full term.
Ana reported that a change of leadership in this session led to a more friendly and cooperative atmosphere, and she thought much was accomplished.
The Legislature approved a $209.4 billion biennial budget, improved funding for roads, and an additional $1.5 billion for local schools, including $130 million for Pre-K programs.
Other highlights were a change in high school seniors choices, so that they now can pick a career path other than an academic or college direction.
The gas tax will now be used for roads, instead of the general fund. Gun laws were modified, so that Open Carry for handguns will start on January 2016, and Concealed Carry on college campuses by Aug. 2016, community colleges Aug. 2017.
Inadequate healthcare for citizens and women veterans was the greatest failure of the session, she said, referencing the continued impasse between the state and the federal government over the expansion of Medicaid to the needy. Ana drafted a bill to expand healthcare for Women Veterans, but it did not pass.
She did work on and pass bills strengthening penalties for human trafficking, and a bill to ease requirements for Silver Alerts.
More details on the Legislation will be available at her next Town Hall meeting, Wednesday Aug. 19 at 6 pm at Baggett Center in Galena Park, and Thursday, Aug. 27 at 6 pm at the Channelview ISD/Hendrix Education Center, 828 Sheldon Rd.