JULY CAPITOL UPDATE
Dear Fellow Texan--
It seems like it is either feast or famine with the weather here in Texas. Just over twelve months ago, a large part of the state was impacted by a severe drought - impacting all segments of our economy. Now, as everyone is all too aware, it has rained in Texas for several weeks. These storms were in addition to the major storms that parts of the state experienced in May. This storm system caused and continues to cause severe damage throughout the state.
Five major river basins - the Colorado, Brazos, Nueces, Trinity and Red - are all at flood stage for the first time since 1957. Lakes and reservoirs are at their maximum capacity. The area affected by flooding is larger than some states at 48,434 square miles.
Fifteen counties in Senate District 24 have been named as state disaster areas by the Governor. Six counties in the state - including Lampasas County - were declared federal disasters for the storms that began on June 16th. Yesterday, the President added another 11 counties to the already issued federal disaster declaration. Those counties include three in Senate District 24 - Bell, Burnet and Eastland. The residents of these counties are now eligible for a wide variety of federal assistance programs.
Over the past week, I have toured devastated areas in Burnet and Eastland Counties. In Burnet County, over 18 inches of rain caused over $137 million in damage. Mandatory evacuations occurred in Eastland County as lake levels continued to rise. In Bell County, emergency crews had to rescue more than a half dozen people after Little River and Salado Creek both surged out of their banks. In each of these communities, the strength of the human spirit could be seen by the heroic efforts of our law enforcement and emergency personnel.
As I toured Burnet and Eastland Counties, and I'm sure is occurring in the rest of the District, I am heartened to see the hard work of our local government officials and volunteers who have done so much in such a short period of time to help our fellow Texans in their time of need. I've seen volunteers clearing debris, manning distribution sites and offering up their parking lots for those distribution sites. Over 328 different offices across the state's 44 flooded counties are working together to help our neighbors in their time of need.
As your elected representative in Austin, please do not hesitate to contact my office if you need additional assistance in your efforts to clean-up after the floods.
- The Texas Department of Transportation recently announced that it has launched an outreach campaign to engage fellow Texans in a discussion on transportation issues. The website http://www.keeptexasmoving.com/ will provide information about key transportation initiatives and public hearings across the state. It has also been designed to allow the public to provide comments, suggestions, and to ask questions.
- Last month, Governor Perry vetoed $154 million in appropriations for health insurance benefits for community colleges. At the beginning of the legislative session, a LBB report outlined concerns relating to the non-standard method used by community colleges to request state appropriations for health insurance benefits for their employees. While the Legislature ultimately decided not to change the method of funding, the Governor took a different position and vetoed the second year of funding. My office has been in contact with the Lieutenant Governor's office on the impact of this veto. We believe that, working in partnership with the community colleges, a solution can be developed on the issue of proportionality which is fair at the individual school level and permanently puts this issue behind us.
It has been one month since the Legislature adjourned the regular session. Over the interim we will continue to study and research various issues. The Lieutenant Governor will be asking for suggestions of subjects and concerns for Senate committees to study over the next 18 months. If you have any suggestions or recommendations, please feel free to let my office know. I will be happy to convey those suggestions on to his office.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need assistance with a state agency or wish to voice an opinion on any matter before the Texas Legislature. I always appreciate hearing from you and I hope to see you soon.
HOW TO CONTACT SENATOR TROY FRASER
Austin Capitol Office
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, Texas 78711
FAX: (512) 475-3732
Marble Falls District Office
607 B Highway 281 North
Marble Falls, Texas 78654
FAX: (830) 693-9603
Abilene District Office
500 Chestnut Street, Suite 810
Abilene, Texas 79602
FAX: (325) 676-8060
Belton District Office
1920 North Main Street, Suite 101
Belton, Texas 76513
FAX: (254) 939-7611