Bailes: Public input needed before next legislative session

By State Rep. Ernest Bailes, District 18

A Few of The Things We Are Working On: We have been in meetings with TxDOT on transportation issues here in HD 18, worked on tax policies as they relate to property tax reform, met with providers on reporting of prescription medications per new legislative guidelines, as well as addressing Sunset Commission reviews.

Proposal to Close TDL Offices: Under Sunset Review, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has been issued a charge to develop and implement a plan to close inefficient driver license offices. DPS staff has recommended closure of 87 driver license offices, which includes the two offices in Liberty County. At this time, no action has been taken, as this is only a recommendation. I am aggressively working to ensure that Liberty County does not lose both offices. You may find information on how to voice your concerns at www.sunset.texas.gov.

SHSU Gets Go Ahead for Medical School:  Sam Houston State University’s proposal for a Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine program has been approved. This is great news for HD 18 and other rural areas as the program will help provide primary care physicians to underserved areas of Texas. The new SHSU medical school was approved on the condition that it cannot seek nor accept funding from the state and will enroll approximately 150 students in 2020.

“A-F” Ratings Released for Public Schools: “A-F” ratings were released this month. During the 85th legislative session, we reduced the number of domains from 5 to 3. The intention was to raise the bar for our public schools and return greater control back to local districts. Domain I- Student Achievement and Domain II- School Progress are weighted at 70 percent, while Domain III- Closing the Gaps, is weighted at 30 percent. You may view the ratings at www.txschools.org.

New District Liaison: We are excited to welcome Jan Page to our team as our new District Liaison. Jan will be a great asset to HD 18, as she is a native of Cleveland, graduate from SHSU, and retired from Shepherd ISD.

Survey: What Legislative Issues are Important to you? As we prepare for the upcoming legislative session, I need your input. In a few weeks, we will send out a short survey to gather information that will help guide our work. I hope you will take a few minutes (less than two) to complete the survey. I thank you in advance.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office. If you speak to Jan, welcome her aboard. You may email us at district18.bailes@house.texas.gov or give us a call at 936-628-6687. Also, if you aren’t on our email list, give us a call with your email address to make sure you receive the survey. We look forward to hearing from you.

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