E-News from the Office of Senator Van de Putte
As you know, the 80th legislative session has begun and I want to keep you updated on what I am doing here in Austin.
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst has released senate committee assignments for the legislative session. I am so pleased to announce that I will remain the Chair of the Veteran Affairs and Military Installations committee. I will also continue to serve on the Business and Commerce and Education committees. Additionally, I will now serve on the State Affairs committee. I look forward to fulfilling my committee assignments this session and will continue to work towards improving veteran benefits, access to quality education and economic development.
On January 26, I filed Senate Bill 338, which would require each one-family or two-family dwelling that begins construction on or after January 1, 2008 to be equipped with carbon monoxide alarms and smoke detectors. It also would require each one-family or two-family dwelling, where there is a transfer of ownership to be equipped with carbon monoxide alarms and smoke detectors. Rep. Eissler filed a companion bill in the House (HB 861).
On January 26, I also filed Senate Bill 335, which would allow children under age 4, who are not in foster care because a grandparent has assumed legal custody, to be eligible for pre-kindergarten classes. Such grandparents are often senior citizens on a fixed income, and caring for their grandchildren is a significant added expense, but one which outweighs the physical and emotional costs the children would otherwise bear in foster care, or the additional financial burden to the state.
Senator Lucio and I co-sponsored Resolutions 23-25 in memory of our dear friend, Senator Frank Madla, his lovely granddaughter, Aleena Jimenez and his mother-in-law, Mary Cruz. The Madla family joined Governor Perry, Lt. Governor Dewhurst and all the members of the Senate for a beautiful memorial ceremony on January 23.
I also sponsored resolution 53 in recognition of the renaming of the Austin Civil Air Patrol squadron after United States Air Force Colonel Joseph W. Kittinger.
NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES (NCSL)
As President of NCSL, a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators of each of the nation's states, I traveled to Washington, D.C. for meetings with our congressional leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Minority Whip Trent Lott, Senator Kay Bailey Huthison and Michigan Senator, Debbie Stabenow. Among our topics of discussion were concerns with the Real ID Act, reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act and legislation that would preempt state authority. I am honored to serve in this capacity, as this position allows me to be at the forefront of issues affecting the nation and our state.
This week I have been busy meeting with constituents and local organizations. Monday was the Association of Texas Professional Educator's Day at the Capitol, so I had the opportunity to meet with teachers from the North Side Independent School District. Other office visitors have included Communication Workers of America, Independent Insurance Agents, Home Health Care Heroes, Public Power/City Public Service, Christus Santa Rosa Hospital officials and the League of Women Voters.
I will continue to keep you updated, as developments occur. I am here representing you, so I encourage you to share your thoughts on legislation with me. It is your contributions that allow me to be an effective legislator.
HOW TO CONTACT SENATOR VAN DE PUTTE
700 N. St. Mary's St. #1725
San Antonio, Texas 78205
(210) 733-6605 - fax