COLUMN: My five cents… | Chroniclers

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This week, the Texas Legislature meets to discuss everything from redistribution to electricity and grid. We only have a few weeks left for this special session, I hope everything will be done!

Here are five things that are going on in your condition:

This month, the Governor’s Broadband Development Council released its annual report to the Legislature, as required by a bill passed in the 86th Legislative Session. The report details the approximate number of households that have broadband access at acceptable speeds set by the legislature, as well as the barriers to access and 10 recommendations from the council. These key recommendations include:

  • plan and invest in broadband speeds above the FCC 25/3 Mbps minimum;

  • define what is meant by “underserved”;

  • study broadband demand at community, regional and national levels;

  • invest in infrastructure that covers rural communities from towns and villages to homes;

  • fund digital literacy training programs;

  • fund cybersecurity and Internet security awareness campaigns;

  • allocate a portion of federal funds to significant broadband infrastructure projects, including public-private partnerships, infrastructure, digital literacy and cybersecurity;

  • a statewide study on the costs associated with a lack of broadband;

  • investigate the existence of any regulatory hurdles communities may face in expanding broadband;

  • partner with local communities, institutions and the private sector to promote digital inclusion initiatives that help advance broadband access, adoption and use.

This week, Redistribution Chair Joan Huffman introduced Senate Bill 6, the United States Congress Redistribution Bill. The Senate held a hearing on the legislation on Thursday, September 30, to discuss the cards and seek public comment on them. The 2020 census showed that Texas has grown significantly over the past decade. This growth necessitated the addition of two new Congressional Districts in the state, bringing the total number of US Congressional seats in Texas to 38. These two new seats were drawn from the Austin and Houston areas in the United States. proposed plan. To view these maps, go to: dvr / Congress / 14 / PLANC2101.

This week, the Special Senate Committee on Redistribution gave its initial approval to new plans from the Texas Senate and the State Board of Education. Senate Bill 7, the SBOE map, was approved unanimously by the committee, and Senate Bill 4, the Senate map, was approved 12-2. Now the bills will head to the Senate floor for a vote by the entire Senate. If approved, these cards will be forwarded to the House for approval. To learn more about the Texas redistricting process, visit redistricting.capitol.texas.gov/ for information on the history, process, and view all of the maps on offer.

Work continues on the battleship Texas. The National Park Service, in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services, recently announced that Battleship Texas has received a $ 500,000 grant for repair and restoration of its superstructure through the Save America’s Treasures Grant Program. The superstructure is defined as the structures above the main deck, with the exception of the ship’s five 14-inch gun turrets. This is major additional work that the Battleship Texas Foundation wanted to accomplish while the ship remains in dry dock.

Over the past few years, the superintendents in East Texas have repeatedly raised the same issue with me, the shortage of school bus drivers. This shortage exists due to a multitude of factors, including federal government regulations. Several years ago, Congress changed the requirements for commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). While these changes are appropriate for long-haul truckers and other commercial drivers, they also covered school bus drivers who are required to have a CDL under federal law. These new requirements require bus drivers to be able to go under the hood of a vehicle and to have skills outside the scope of their work. Because Congress has raised the standards for CDLs, many licensees have chosen not to renew their licenses when they expire because the process or testing is difficult. The test is also a barrier to entry for potential new drivers. During this special session, I tabled Concurrent Senate Resolution 3 calling on Congress to address the school bus driver shortage. The resolution calls on Congress to pass legislation that would allow states to set their own standards for school bus drivers.


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