Speaking at a North Shore Rotary luncheon last week, State Senator Sylvia Garcia reviewed the activities and bills that were presented for consideration in the last state legislative session.
Garcia was in her first term as a senator, and in fact started later than the others due to a late election to fill Mario Gallegos seat. Even so, she said that she filed 20 bills, and 15 of them were passed.
Her major interests in this session were education, health care, and water resources. She worked to help restore cuts to education from the previous session, and the legislature voted an additional $3.4 billion to school districts. Teachers got a small raise, and a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).
Garcia decried the low rate of insured in the county, noting that 1 of every 3 people dont have health insurance in Harris County. That means 1.1 million are eligible for ACA (Obamacare). She noted that even though the legislature voted for expansion of the childrens health program, CHIP, the governor vetoed it.
Garcia spoke in favor of the Proposition #6 on this weeks ballot, saying that planning for water resources was becoming more important, and that this was a wise investment in our future well-being. Passage of the Consitutional Amendment would allow $2 billion of the Rainy Day fund to be set up as a revolving loan fund for water projects throughout the state.
On other issues, she asked the audience to vote Yes on the Astrodome refurbishing bonds, and Yes on the proposition to set up a joint inmate intake processing center for the county and the city.
Noting how busy she had been as a new senator, she said she had held 8 Town Hall meetings, and 3 Open Houses for her offices in downtown, North Shore, and Aldine.
She reported on the committee assignments she holds: Nominations, Government relations, Jurisprudence, and Government Organization. She noted that Governmental Relations brought up issues of importance to local residents, including the prevalence of 8 liner gambling, trash on our streets, and loose animals and their disposal.
She said one issue that needed work by all was the low voter turnout in her Senate District 6, the lowest in the states 31 Senate Districts.