Harvey Impacts TX Legislature

The next session of the Texas Legislature isn't until 2019, but lawmakers are already going to work on items related to Hurricane Harvey.  This week, House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) issued directives to House committees to begin research on a list of issues related to Harvey. 

Straus asked the Public Education Committee to look at the financial costs to school districts from Harvey, and the potential impacts from missed days and displaced students on education in the state as a whole.  Straus also ordered the Appropriations Committee to examine how federal funding has been allocated for Harvey relief and how to improve such funding in the future.  Finally, Straus charged the Natural Resources Committee to look at ways to improve infrastructure to prevent or minimize future flooding.

Lawmakers have already scheduled meetings on some of these items for as early as next month.  State Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) says Harvey's impact on education will be a huge priority.  "What is the property value loss due to homes that have been flooded, and then what is that impact upon the funding of our schools," he says.  "What is the impact on the accountability systems for our school districts as a whole, and specifically for individual students impacted by the storm."

State Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Humble), whose district suffered severe flooding, tells KTRH that improved infrastructure will also be a big focus for lawmakers.  "We're going to be talking about the dams, and specifically Lake Conroe, and Conroe releasing their water into Lake Houston, but also the Brazos River and what happened in Beaumont," he says.  "The people who live in my community are very upset...I was flooded, many of my friends were flooded, and we just need to make sure that we're able to have meaningful discussions so that this never happens again."

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