Dear Fellow Texan,
Happy Independence Day Weekend! Janet and I are very excited to enjoy the long weekend with our family and neighbors. This weekend of celebration is an active one for House District 127. You can see a list of events here.
While this weekend is a time of celebration, please keep in mind these firework safety tips to ensure that you and your family have a fun (but safe!) weekend. Remember, fireworks often are startling to pets and can cause distress for your animals. If you are using fireworks around your animals, remember these safety tips to keep your pets safe and comfortable this weekend.
The summer time around the Capitol building is a bit quiet, so now is the perfect time to contact us with your policy needs. Are you interested in a particular area? Do you have great ideas about the future of our great state? We’d like to hear from you. Just reply to this email, or contact me or my staff directly. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.
Please note that my Capitol and District offices will be closed on Monday, July 4th, and will reopen Tuesday, July 5th in observance of Independence Day.
Federal Disaster Declaration Granted For Additional Texas Counties
|The federal government granted Governor Greg Abbott’s federal disaster request for Individual Assistance for Fayette, Harris, Kleberg, Palo Pinto and Parker Counties, amending the June 11th disaster declaration following recent flooding across the State of Texas
Additional counties may be added to the Governor’s request for assistance once they meet the threshold required by the federal government to request federal disaster aid.
Please note that all jurisdictions in Texas are eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grand Program.
Additional disaster resources are available on the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs website at www.tdhca.state.tx.us/disaster-resources/index.htm, or by clicking on the Disaster Relief Resources box in the right navigation bar of the TDHCA home page.
What’s Going on in Austin?
Rep. Huberty Joins House Leadership in Insisting on Transparency and Accountability from HHSC
Representative Huberty along with several other long-serving members of the Texas House are urging the Texas Health and Human Services Commission for transparency and accountability regarding the recent reductions in Medicaid payment rates of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech-Language Pathology services.
The letter is asking for assurances that these rate reductions will not compromise access to care and to ensure that HHSC has proper safe guards in place to ensure access to care is maintained.
You can read the letter from Chairman John Zerwas, Rep. Huberty, and other members of the Texas House of Representatives by following this link.
Important Updates from TEA
SBOE Seeks Public Input About Assessments and Accountability
The State Board of Education (SBOE) is issuing a survey in English and Spanish to seek public input about the state’s current assessment and accountability programs and gather suggestions for future program development. The survey will be open online to all Texans through June 30.
You can read more about the press release from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments here.
Commissioner Morath Waives Grades 5 & 8 Student Retesting and Retention Requirements
As a result of ongoing reporting issues with the state’s testing vendor, Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced that the state will be removing student consequences attached to State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) for fifth and eighth-grade students for the 2015-2016 school year. He also cancelled the June 21-22 fifth and eighth-grade retest administration.
Even though state requirements have been waived, districts are still encouraged to use local discretion to determine on an individual basis whether accelerated instruction should be offered to support students. Districts will not be required to convene Grade Placement Committees but are encouraged to use all relevant and available academic information to make promotion decisions.
Morath said, “I apologize for the continuing problems our students and staff are being forced to deal with because of ongoing reporting issues with our testing vendor. Kids in the classroom should never suffer from mistakes made by adults. We intend to hold the vendor, Educational Testing Service, accountable.”
Normally, fifth and eighth-grade students must pass the reading and math assessments in order to be promoted. If a student does not pass the tests after three tries, the student must be retained unless a Grade Placement Committee, composed of a principal, teacher, and the student’s parents, unanimously agrees to promote the child to the next grade level. State law gives the commissioner the ability to waive this law when necessary.
The full letter is available on the TEA’s Website.
Humble ISD Is Now Home to 1 of 23 New T-STEM Academies
Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced today that the Texas Education Agency has designated 23 new Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (T-STEM) Academies for the 2016-2017 school year. With the addition of these 23 new campuses, Texas is now home to 121 state-designated T-STEM Academies.
T-STEM academies are rigorous secondary schools focusing on improving instruction and academic performance in science and mathematics-related subjects, with a goal of increasing the number of students who study and enter STEM careers. Designated T-STEM campuses serve students in grades 6-12 or 9-12.
“The continued growth of Texas STEM academies reflects a commitment to rigorous instruction in key subjects that challenges students while also preparing them for the future,” said Commissioner Morath. “A strong foundation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics prepares students for college, career or the military, which in turn strengthens our state’s economic future.”
To read the entire press release as well as find more information regarding T-STEM designations and how to enroll, go here.
Humble ISD Seeks DI Designation
House Bill (HB) 1842 was passed in the 84th Texas Legislative Session in spring 2015 which provides this opportunity for Texas school districts to be designated as a District of Innovation (DI) which may be exempted from a number of state statutes and will have greater local control as the decision makers over the education and instructional model for students, increased freedom and flexibility, with accountability, relative to state mandates that govern education programming and empowerment to innovate and think differently.
Dr. Sconzo of Humble ISD Retires
Dr. Sconzo joined the Humble ISD family as Superintendent in June 2001. In the 15 years of his service, Humble ISD opened 14 new schools and went through 60 percent student enrollment growth. Under his leadership, Humble ISD was named the “Best Large District in Texas” in the 2015 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards. Additionally, Dr. Sconzo was recognized as the 2013 Region 4 Superintendent of the Year and was among five finalists for State Superintendent of the Year. Dr. Sconzo’s legacy will always have an impact in our community and in our hearts. His retirement celebration was an amazing night, honoring and celebrating his 40 years of service to public education.
Air-bag Recalls and How To Save A Life
| In the wake of the largest automotive recall in U.S. history, millions of Americans are driving in “ticking time bombs” that put them at risk of serious injury or death. Visiting AirbagRecall.com can help save lives here in Houston, and across the country.
Older affected vehicles, and those in hot and humid climates, are more likely to have airbags that deploy explosively, making Houston one of the country’s most at-risk populations.
Auto manufacturers are responsible for notifying drivers that their vehicle is at-risk and for
Visiting AirbagRecall.com can help save lives here in Houston, and across the country.
Representative Dan Huberty
Chief of Staff
1100 Congress Avenue E2.722 Austin, TX 78701
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
4501 Magnolia Cove
Kingwood, TX 77345