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NICHOLS: Lawmakers get to work on special session agenda items | Community

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On July 4, 1845, the Convention of 1845 was convened in Austin to consider the joint resolution of the United States Congress proposing to annex the Republic of Texas. By a vote of 55-1, delegates formally accepted the United States Congress’ offer to annex. Texas was officially admitted to the United States later that year on December 29.

Here are five things that are going on in your condition:

1. The agenda for the special session called by Governor Greg Abbott is published.

Governor Greg Abbott has released 11 legislative agenda items to cover when we reconvene for our first called Special Session. These topics include: bail reform, election integrity, border security, social media censorship, Article X funding, prevention of domestic violence, protection of sports for children. youth, regulation of abortion-inducing drugs, handing over a 13th check to our retired teachers, tackling critical race theory in public schools, earmarking additional general revenue available for relief from property tax, improving the foster care system and strengthening cybersecurity efforts for the state.

We have a lot to do in the coming weeks, but we are ready to complete this important work. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate and our counterparts in the House to pass this important legislation.

2. Limitations of the extraordinary session.

Now that the governor has called us back to Capitol Hill for a special session, it is important to describe the rules for a special session.

It is important to note that a special session is not like a regular session. The governor can call an extraordinary session at any time and for any reason, but he must set out his reasons in a proclamation. There is no limit on the number of subjects the governor can include to be covered in a special session, but the legislature can only consider legislation on the subjects included in the proclamation.

This means that we can only review legislation on the 11 agenda items mentioned above.

Special sessions only last a maximum of 30 days, but there is no minimum for their duration. For example, the first convened session of the 38th Parliament met only one hour before adjourning. The governor can call as many special offers as he wishes and can call them at any time, even consecutively if he wishes.

3. The Controller publishes a revised estimate of income.

Controller Glenn Hager released his earnings estimate for the first session called this week. In his estimate, he predicted that the state would have a final balance of about $ 7.85 billion for fiscal year 2022-2023. He said that estimate is based on increased revenue, savings from state agency budget cuts and the replacement of eligible general revenue funds with federal relief funds.

This update indicates that the state is recovering remarkably well from the economic downturn resulting from the pandemic. During a special session, the Legislative Assembly may appropriate some of these funds, but just because we have them doesn’t mean we have to spend them.

I look forward to working on how this money is allocated with the Senate Finance Committee and our chair, Senator Jane Nelson.

4. Texas plan for US bailout funds approved.

The US Department of Education announced this week that Texas is one of seven states to receive the latest round of federal stimulus funds after the state’s plan to spend those funds is approved. The funding includes an additional $ 4.1 billion to meet the post-pandemic needs of public school students.

The Texas Education Agency’s plan focuses on mitigating learning losses suffered during the pandemic. Other priorities include meeting the mental health needs of students and staff, expanding tutoring opportunities, improving high-quality teaching materials, and job-integrated learning.

School districts and charter schools now have until July 27 to submit their own individual plans to TEA.

5. The results of the STAAR test reveal the weaknesses of virtual learning.

Last month, the Texas Education Agency released the results of the STAAR test conducted in the spring of 2021. The results indicated a significant increase over the 2019 test in the number of under-grade students in all subjects and grades. school. STAAR tests were not carried out in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The largest declines in skills were recorded in mathematics across all grades. Statewide, under-grade students in reading increased 4% and below-grade students in math increased 16%.

The TEA said districts with a higher percentage of students learning practically experienced larger declines in learning across all grades and subjects.

These statistics show that virtual learning is not the best option for most of our students and that returning children to class is the best option to recover from the pandemic.

Robert Nichols is the state senator for Senate District 3. First elected in 2006, Nichols represents 19 counties, including much of eastern Texas and part of Montgomery County. He can be reached at 699-4988 or toll free at (800) 959-8633. His email address is [email protected]


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