Check out what we've been up to at the Legislature!
As 2021 gets underway Team Bucy is busy with the start of the 87th Legislative Session, including filing legislation, meeting with stakeholders and constituents, and participating in briefings on key topics expected to come up this year. This version of the Bucy Bulletin also contains an important update around COVID-19, including vaccination, testing, and more.
I also wanted to make sure you saved the date for our Legislative Session Overview. This virtual town hall will cover my legislative agenda, updates from the Texas Capitol, and the latest information on COVID-19. Learn more and RSVP.
I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve you, House District 136, and the people of Texas. Please do not ever hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or comments or if there is anything my office can do for you.
All the best,
John Bucy III
Texas House District 136
START OF SESSION MESSAGE
The 87th Legislative Session stands to be one like none we have ever seen before. With COVID-19 devastating our economy and further exposing ongoing issues with access to healthcare, broadband, and infrastructure, there is a lot of work to be done and not a lot of time to do it. In addition to passing a state budget and addressing the pandemic, Texas is also set to undergo redistricting--where federal, state, and local political districts are redrawn in accordance with changes in population after the Census.
After a swearing in that was very different from 2019, electing a speaker, and passing our House rules, we now await committee assignments and have begun filing legislation in earnest. I'm grateful to the people of House District 136 in Northwest Austin, Cedar Park, Leander, and the Brushy Creek area for once again trusting me to continue fighting for our families and our future.
As we gaveled out on the first day of the new legislative session I thought of the words my grandfather spoke often: Texas needs victors, I hope that you will be one. That's the message I take to my colleagues as we work together to once again do the people's work. As we approach critical issues such as COVID-19 recovery, public education, healthcare, infrastructure, and economic opportunity we must bring people to the table to solve the pressing problems facing our state. Together, we can build our community up and make Texas as good as its promise.
VIRTUAL TOWN HALL SCHEDULED
Join State Rep. John Bucy III for a virtual Town Hall on Thursday, Feb. 18th at 5:00 PM. Learn more about Rep. Bucy's legislative agenda, the ongoing Legislative Session, and the latest information on COVID-19. We will take questions from the audience, which you can submit in advance. Please RSVP to receive reminders and a direct link to the stream day-of.
Williamson County is receiving weekly shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine to its HUBs and additional providers for distribution to eligible residents. Residents of Williamson County who fall into 1A or 1B designations are encouraged to register for the COVID-19 vaccine. The county is encouraging residents in those designations to use any approved, available option to obtain the first dose of the vaccine. Vaccines are available by appointment only and require pre-registration.
1A: Front-line healthcare workers and residents at long-term care facilities
1B: People over 65 or people with a chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, such as but not limited to:
Chronic kidney disease
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
Solid organ transplantation
Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
NOTE: As a reminder, do not show up at a hospital or clinic looking for vaccine. Providers require pre-registration and appointments to be assigned. Refer to an individual HUB or provider's website for more information about vaccine availability, pre-registration processes, appointments, and more. If you cannot find the answer to your question on their website you can call or reach out to Williamson County's COVID-19 vaccination hotline: 512-943-1600.
Vaccine Access Assistance Williamson County is now offering assistance to residents via call center hotline or in person at Vaccine Registration Technical Assistance sites in terms of signing up for the Family Hospital Systems (FHS) vaccine waitlist, confirming waitlist status, and sharing information about the county's vaccine plan.
In Person: Sun City Ballroom, 2 Texas Dr, Georgetown Available Monday thru Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM
NOTE: the county hopes to open additional VRTA locations soon
Hotline: 512-943-1600 Available Monday thru Friday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Williamson County is currently in the Uncontrolled Community Spread Phase, color coded Red, with the local health district recommending residents continue to wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet away from others, and avoid social gatherings of any size, while postponing any large events. With a spike anticipated for after the holidays, residents are strongly encouraged to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families.
You can learn more about the four phases, the criteria involved in deriving them, and what personal and community mitigation measures should be followed by referencing the WCCDH Phased Re-Opening Recommendations.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic we began a Food & Wellness program, conducting outreach and setting up deliveries of food and essential supplies. We used robo calls, phonebanks, and sent 10,000 text messages as part of spreading the word.
Working with Hill Country Community Ministries (HCCM), we have since delivered 50,000 meals to seniors and people with disabilities in House District 136 throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We also had volunteers donate or hand make face masks and other key supplies for use in the program.
We want to thank the countless volunteers who donated supplies, helped make wellness check in calls, and who have continued to help regularly deliver food. While this program has continued to evolve, the support from those in our community has remained steadfast.
If you are in need of assistance or know someone who is, please contact our office at 512-463-0696 or [email protected]. Please note, to comply with HCCM requirements certain restrictions may apply.
Much of our work at the Capitol revolves around constituent services--helping people navigate state agencies with respect to licensing, regulation, interacting with the criminal justice system, and health and human services, and more.
New Capitol Office
We now have a new office in the Texas Capitol. We've moved over one hallway in the Capitol Extension to E2.208. Our contact information remains the same. You can reach us by phone at 512-463-0696, by email at [email protected], or by mail to P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768.
Unemployment and the Texas Workforce Commission
If your employment has been affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19), you can apply for benefits either online at any time using Unemployment Benefits Services or by calling the Texas Workforce Commission’s Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM Central Time, seven days a week, Sunday through Saturday. Texans are encouraged to use the TWC online claim portal to file or check on their claim.
If you need help navigating the TWC or unemployment process or if you are having problems with your claim, please reach out to our office at 512-463-0696 or [email protected]. We may be able to provide additional assistance.
Opening Day: As part of a very different Opening Day, we hosted a Facebook Live to allow constituents to join in virtually for our swearing in ceremony as opposed to hosting an in person reception. You can can watch the video recording online here.
Celebrating MLK Day: As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy let us recommit ourselves to his dream and fulfilling the promise of America. Together, we can make our society more fair and just, with opportunity and equality for all.
National Run for Office Day: I enjoyed celebrating National Run for Office Day by reflecting on the journey from 2013 to now. In short, what I would tell anyone is: Run. Absolutely. There is nothing more humbling or amazing than being a part of empowering people to make change in their community. If you have the ideas and will to make a difference, you can do it.
Abolish Confederate Heroes Day: I joined Rep. Jarvis Johnson and many of my colleagues for a press conference in support H.B. 36, which would abolish Confederate Heroes Day. I was proud to joint author this bill last session and look forward to helping it pass this time around.
Bradley's First Birthday: Molly and I enjoyed celebrating our little Bradley Bear's first birthday on January 25th. We're grateful to our family who were able to join us on Zoom to celebrate the occasion as well.
Sexual Assault Survivors Day: January 28th was Texas Sexual Assault Survivors Day. 1 in 3 adults in Texas will experience sexual assault. I stand with my colleagues in the Texas Legislature in solidarity to offer our support and create a space for healing and empowerment.
TEA STAAR Announcement: The TEA announced Texas students would be required to take the STAAR in person this school year. But our students shouldn’t be required to take the STAAR this school year, let alone take it in person. The TEA must join other states in requesting a waiver from the federal government to cancel STAAR and we should continue to move away from this punitive model of testing that doesn’t measure learning altogether.
HD 136 ARTIST OF THE MONTH
Each month at our Capitol and District Offices we are so proud to display and feature work from local artists, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also featured local artists virtually.
Since pre-filing began our office has been busy meeting with constituents, local elected officials, and stakeholders as well as researching and preparing legislation for filing. To date we have filed 18 bills focused on key legislative agenda items like Medicaid expansion and voting rights as well as legislation brought to us by constituents and local jurisdictions relating to property tax exemptions, affordability measures, and mental health. We will continue to file legislation on a variety of matters over the next few weeks.
H.B. 398 & H.J.R. 24 - Medicaid Expansion Vote Would allow the people of Texas to vote on whether or not to adopt Medicaid expansion by virtue of a Constitutional Amendment.
H.B. 400 - Universal Ballot by Mail Would allow any registered voter in Texas to apply to vote by mail in an election.
H.B. 824 - Municipal Drainage Fees Would allow cities to waive all or part of their drainage fees for the principal residence of a person aged 65 or older, who is disabled, a veteran, or on active duty.
H.B. 844 - BBM In-Person Return Would codify the Governor's executive orders permitting those voting by mail to return their own ballot only in person to the county elections office during early voting or on Election Day as well as create a procedure for counties to designate additional secure drop off locations.
H.B. 845 - Email BBM Would allow voters who vote by mail for reason of being out of county -- such as truckers and oil rig workers -- to receive their ballot and instruction by email, before printing their ballot, signing it, and mailing it back in.
H.B. 856 - Same Day Voter Reg Would a person who would otherwise be eligible to vote except for the requirement that they register to be registered to vote and cast their ballot on the same day at their polling place.
H.B. 857 - Provisional Ballots Would allow Texas citizens who are already registered to vote in Texas but are not registered in their new county of residence to cast a provisional ballot in that county during early voting or on Election Day and have their voter registration updated.
H.B. 904 - Election Day State Holiday Would designate the first Tuesday of November in even-numbered years as a State Holiday to draw attention to the importance of voting and civic participation.
H.B. 962 - Driving Hours
Would increase the number of hours of behind-the-wheel instruction as part of a drivers education course from 30 to 50.
H.B. 1014 - Student ID Hotline Would require that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Crisis Text Line to be printed on student ID cards for middle schools, high schools, and institutions of higher education.
H.B. 1061 & H.J.R. 62 - Senior Property Tax Freeze Proposes a Constitutional Amendment to allow Special Districts such as Water Control Boards, MUDs, and Emergency Service Districts to provide an exemption or freeze property tax rates for seniors and those with disabilities.
H.B. 1382 - BBM Tracker Would require counties to create an online tracking database where voters can check the status of their ballot by mail from the application process thru a determination of acceptance or rejection.
H.B. 1383 - Right to Campaign Would codify existing case law ensuring voter registration and canvassing are protected political activities so long as reasonable restrictions on time of day or otherwise are abided by.
H.B. 1420 & H.J.R. 79 - Surviving Spouse Homestead Exemption Fix Fixes a technicality with the Surviving Spouse Homestead Exemption to include spouses of service members killed in direct relation to their military service while on active duty. If passed, it must be ratified by the voters via Constitutional Amendment.
H.B. 1472 - Major Events Reimbursement Program
Would add the CONCACAF Gold Cup to the list of events eligible for local jurisdictions to apply for funding under the Major Events Reimbursement Program.
Create your TLO account An excellent way for you to keep track of what's going on is by creating a free TLO account at https://capitol.texas.gov/. On this site you can learn more about legislation and set up alerts on the bills, committees, topics, and more that interest you. TLO is a great tool to use to stay involved with the legislative process.
Political advertisement paid for by John Bucy Campaign, Hon. Heather Jefts, Treasurer.
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