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Session Watch: Big Data Abounds

May 1, 2017

When it comes to making policy decisions around the Capitol, Big Data, defined as large data sets that can be analyzed for a host of patterns and trends, is driving many of the narratives.

As a longtime advocate for our abused and neglected children, I pay special attention to data collected on child abuse allegations, child abuse confirmations, Child Protective Services (CPS) caseworker turnover, the number of cases our CPS caseworkers are responsible for at any one given time, the number of families receiving prevention services, and the most disheartening—the number of child deaths due to abuse and neglect each year.

Message from Carlos - May 2017

May 1, 2017

One month to go in the 85th Legislative Session. Both the Texas House and the Senate are sending our final bills over to the other side before taking up the bills of the opposite chamber, only to meet in the middle on the Governor’s desk by Sine Die, which falls on Monday, May 29th this year.

At this point in session there are many competing interests, jockeying to pass last minute legislative priorities or to shore up funding in the budget. The budget is in conference committee, where the differences between the House and Senate budgets are being ironed out.

Recently, I have passed a number of bills through the Senate including:

Senator Carlos Uresti Passes “Camo Alert” to Help Texas Veterans

May 1, 2017

Austin, TX—Senator Carlos Uresti passed Senate Bill 1622 unanimously today through the Texas Senate. SB 1622 creates a “Camo Alert” (short for camouflage) program for missing military members and veterans who suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or a traumatic brain injury.

“Having a tool like a Camo Alert could save the lives of those who put their own lives at risk in sacrifice to our country. As a Marine, the father of a Marine, and the brother of a Marine, I am constantly looking for ways to help our soldiers and Veterans. This bill would not have moved through the Senate without the help of Veterans, who are committed to looking out for their fellow wounded warriors.” said Senator Carlos Uresti.

April is Festival and Fiesta Season in District 19

May 1, 2017

Saturday, April 8th, Senator Uresti attended the Poteet Strawberry Festival. This year's event was the 70th anniversary of the weekend-long celebration. With carnival rides, performers, and delicious foods, the festival exceeded all expectations. Despite the strawberry shortages of recent years, the event was a profound success with 35 food vendors and 90 booths for arts and crafts. 

Energy Update - April 2017

April 1, 2017

The number of drilling rigs at work in Texas rose to a count of 494, according to a March 24th report by Baker Hughes. Nationally, there were 809 rigs at work, up from 754 at this time last month. Overall, US crude production is rising gradually and currently stands at 9,147 million barrels/day. Meanwhile, the price of West Texas crude has decreased this month from $54.01/barrel to $49.51/barrel.

Message from Carlos - April 2017

April 1, 2017

In the past decade of the Texas Legislature, very few issues are as contentious as Vouchers. While they go by many names, such as tax credit scholarships and education savings accounts, to the average person a voucher is any route to use public dollars for a private school education.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April 1, 2017

This month the halls of the State Capitol will be filled with passionate advocates for children as state lawmakers come together for Child Abuse Prevention Month. In Texas, child abuse is rampant – there were over 60,000 cases of abuse and over 222 child fatalities in 2016. 

In Bexar County, the Blue Ribbon Task Force, child abuse advocates, community leaders and elected officials kicked off Child Abuse Prevention month with a press conference on the courthouse steps, now an annual tradition. Community leaders spoke, and reaffirmed the communities collective resolve to continue to raise the awareness of child abuse and neglect.

Outdated Sales Tax System Thwarts Texas Businesses

April 1, 2017

By Senator Carlos Uresti
As published in the Texas Tribune:

With a grim Texas budget outlook this legislative session, public universities, health care providers, and state highways could all see significant cuts. Already, a hiring freeze has been declared across state agencies whose budgets are facing cuts of over 4 percent. Finding more items to cut has become exceedingly difficult, and a tax increase is out of the question.

Bill Filing for the 85th Session Ends

April 1, 2017

The Legislature has passed the 60th day of the legislative session, which means bills that are not classified as emergency items can be heard and voted on by the Senate for the remainder of the session. Your definition of an emergency item may not be the same as your neighbor, but ultimately it's the Governor that has the final say on what is an emergency item. When an issue is important to your constituency, it’s always an emergency item, and I look forward to debating and voting on a number of important bills that have been filed to benefit our children, our families, and our state.

Texas Water Development Board approves $200,000 to the City of Toyah (Reeves County) for water system improvements

March 29, 2017

AUSTIN – (March 29, 2017) – The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) today approved by resolution financial assistance in the amount of $200,000 in loan forgiveness from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to the City of Toyah (Reeves County). The City will use the assistance to finance the planning, design, and construction costs associated with water system improvements.

The City will use the assistance to make improvements at its water treatment plant. In addition, the City will evaluate the feasibility and cost effectiveness of replacing its current surface water supply with groundwater.