January 14, 2019

The Lege is Back in Town

By Texas State Representative Ryan Guillen

Last week, the Texas Legislature gaveled into session for the 86th time. The House moved quickly to elect a new Speaker, Dennis Bonnen of the coastal community of Angleton. Bonnen proclaimed that school finance and property tax reform would take center stage this session. While the capitol is normally filled with tourists from all over the world and Texans who want to learn more about their great history, last week it was bustling with legislators and their staffs.

New Sheriff in Town

When Rep. Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, announced his retirement, the race to see who would replace him as Speaker was expected to be wide open. While a few members had declared their intention to run in late 2017 and early 2018, only Rep. Bonnen was able to quickly shore up enough support with both Democrats and Republicans to secure the speakership.

Education on my Mind

In his first address as the new Speaker, Bonnen laid out his priorities for the session and called for Democrats and Republicans to work together to achieve their goals. Hopefully this time there won't be any fights on the House floor. First and foremost, Bonnen said, public education has to be fixed, and will be fixed. Abraham Lincoln, in his first declaration for public office, said education is the "most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in." I'm happy to know that Speaker Bonnen and I fully agree that the Texas education system has to be reformed.

The Rules They Are a Changin'

My fellow lawmakers and I met Wednesday to vote on changes to how we would run the House during the session, including improvements on how we deal with allegations of sexual harassment. I have filed bills to support our veterans, protect homeowners, and help the children in Texas' public school system.