WHAT'S NEW . . .
The Lieutenant Governor's office and the Speaker's office are currently working on developing interim study charges. An interim study is an in-depth review of an important issue that is conducted by a committee between legislative sessions. We expect to learn interim study charges in the fall. In anticipation of our interim assignments, the Senate Committee on Transportation & Homeland Security, which I chair, will hold an interim public hearing on Thursday, August 20 in Arlington, Texas.
Secretary of the U. S. Department of Education, Arne Duncan, announced on July 24, that the state's application to use $1.9 billion of Education Stabilization stimulus funds had been granted. The state's plan will be applied to increasing school funding and financing a minimum $800 pay raise for teachers, librarians, counselors, nurses, and speech therapists.
A study released July 27, reported that the number of fatal crashes involving teen drivers has dropped by 33% from 2002-2007. This good news has been largely attributed to recent restrictions in licensure for teens, as well as peer-to-peer programs in high schools. Starting September 1, the state will reinstate road tests as a requirement for those applying for a license under the age of 18.
A new law goes into effect on September 1 which changes the standards for child safety seats. This law requires that all children younger than 8 years old, unless the child is taller that 4' 9", be secured in a child passenger safety seat during the operation of a motor vehicle.
FOCUS . . .
You don't have to go far to get outside and have one last adventure before summer is over. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is a great resource to help you take advantage of all the State of Texas has to offer outdoors.
If you are traveling around Texas this summer or simply want to find out more about the area you live in, you can visit the section of the TPWD website that allows you to Find A Park. This page offers a list of all state parks and destinations, or you can locate one using the Interactive Travel Regions Map. The TPWD website also includes a list of overnight campsites in Texas and the capability to make reservations online. You can also request reservations and check availability by phone, fax or email. For more information on reserving a campsite, click here.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has a wide assortment of activities just for kids, as well as the whole family. You can find tips and resources for taking your kids outside here. Texas Outdoor Family workshops are hosted at state parks and at various partner sites (such as city and county parks) where your family receives hands-on experience learning basic outdoor skills, including:
- How to set up and break a tent
- Starting a fire
- Outdoor cooking
- Guided walks
- Nature activities
- How to use a GPS
- Introductions to other outdoor activities
Dates and locations of Texas Outdoor Family workshops can be found here. There are several upcoming fall dates in the Dallas area!
TPWD offers kids the chance to learn about nature from home through the kids section of the TPWD website. Here, children can learn different regions of Texas and the plants and animals found in those areas, templates for an Outdoor Kids Journals that can be printed at home, and tips for being safe and smart outdoors. In the Dallas/Fort Worth area TPWD also offers the Urban Outdoors Program.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department also can help you find a bike trail or biking event, give you tips on fishing in state parks, and even provide resources for teachers.
To sign up for updates from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, click here, where you can easily subscribe to updates for a wide range of outdoor recreation and conservation categories.
Here are some events happening around Texas in the month of August, 2009. Go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife website to check out these events and many more.
- August 2009 - Kickapoo Cavern State Park - Wild Cave Tour
- August 7, 14, 21 - Bastrop State Park - Night Hike
- August 12 - World Birding Center - Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park - Bentsen Perseid Party
- August 13, 27 - Blanco State Park - Toddler Time at the Park
- August 15 - Fort Richardson State Park & Historic Site & Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway - Performance by Doc Wood "Cowboy Poet"
- August 15 - McKinney Falls State Park - Outdoor Kids Klub
- August 26–27 - Fort Worth, Texas - Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Meeting
- August 29 - Big Spring State Park - Summer Movie Night Outdoors on Scenic Mountain.
DID YOU KNOW . . . ?
The Sales Tax Holiday for the 2009-2010 school year is the weekend of August 21-23. During this weekend most clothing and footwear priced under $100 is exempt from sales and use taxes. Beginning this year, most school supplies under $100 are also exempt. The Comptroller's Office has set up a webpage for more information on the Sales Tax Holiday which includes a list of items exempt from sales tax and new items included this year.
The Trinity River Corridor started a monthly newsletter beginning in July that includes events and happenings on the Trinity River. Here you can learn more about the Trinity River Audubon Center, the Texas Buckeye Trail, and other new developments along the Trinity River Corridor.
IN CLOSING . . .
With all of these new opportunities to explore the Texas outdoors, be sure to wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water - the Texas summer isn't over yet!
State Senator - District 16
|P.O. Box 12068|
Austin, TX 78711
|8080 N. Central Expy.
Suite 1440, LB 44
Dallas, TX 75206
|5401 N. Central Expy.
Dallas, TX 75205