Hinojosa: The End of Session
(Austin, TX) — Today, the Senate of Texas announced Sine Die for the 82nd Special Legislative Session. Senator Juan Chuy Hinojosa released the following statement.
"This has been one of the toughest sessions I have been a part of. The $27 billion budget shortfall and the current political environment set the theme from the start and it was not pretty. Still, aside the difficulties we faced we were able to shine a positive light on several important issues.
"Our border security package includes $800,000 for tactical vessels, $9 million for a high altitude surveillance aircraft, $56 million for a 9 hour work day for DPS troopers and $266,667 for defensive weapons. We effectively expanded the tools our law enforcement agents have at their disposal to make our communities safer and secure our borders.
"The Dropout Recovery Program under SB 975 will help keep children in school, put them on a track to college and strengthen the economic development potential of our state. I've always said education is the best equalizer, but it's also one of the strongest economic engines I know. This program is a proven tool that will help us pave a path to success for young Texans.
"We secured $5 million for the Jobs and Education for Texans Program which is designed to retrain hardworking Texans so they can rejoin the workforce. This propels the state economy and assures Texans can have good jobs and provide for their families.
"The legislature also approved my Senate Joint Resolution 4 which will give Texans the opportunity to authorize $6 billion in revolving water bonds to help cities, counties and water providers fund water projects and infrastructure more cheaply than they could on their own. The bottom line is we are in a drought, and the only way Texas will survive is by investing in infrastructure to conserve and maximize its water resources.
"We may have lost some ground, but there are small victories that make all the pain and effort worthwhile. From the initial proposal to cut $10 billion from education, we were able to restore $5.7 billion. We made money available to our children's hospitals, secured money for the Corpus Christi A&M Engineering program, the University of Texas Pan American teaching site, kept the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs afloat and secured $19.6 million for Communities in Schools.
"Like I said before, this was an extremely difficult session, but I learned as a Marine in Vietnam to be flexible, to take every day as it comes - life is a process. The legislature is the same way, you win some, you lose some. But at the end of the day, you do your best and get the job done.