September has come and gone and fall is just around the corner! This month we had an Elections Committee meeting in Houston, opened our District Office, and are preparing for our October Town Hall. This edition of the monthly Bucy Bulletin will cover that as well as showcase community events, discuss legislative activity over the Interim, and highlight our Artist of the Month.
I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve you, HD 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
NEXT TOWN HALL ON OCT. 9
Join State Rep. John Bucy for a Town Hall on Wednesday, October 9th at 7:00 pm at the Anderson Mill Limited District in Northwest Austin. Hear from Rep. Bucy about the 10 Constitutional Amendments on the ballot in November and learn more about Williamson County's new voting machines during a presentation and demonstration from our county Elections Department. We look forward to seeing you there! You can learn more about the Town Hall and RSVP here.
COMMUNITY EVENTS & HAPPENINGS
District Office Opens: Thank you so much to everyone who came out to our District Office for our Grand Opening! We truly want you to think of this as your office, a convenient location to have your concerns and casework addressed or discuss legislative matters.
Education Round Tables: We hosted productive round tables with teachers and education professionals from Round Rock ISD and Leander ISD to learn more about how legislation is impacting them and what support and policy changes they see a need for.
Press Conference: I joined my colleagues to call on Gov. Abbott to convene an emergency, special session to address the epidemic of gun violence in Texas. We were elected to debate the real issues that Texans face on the House and Senate floors. Watch here.
Austin FC Groundbreaking: The energy was electric at the Stadium Groundbreaking for Austin FC! I look forward to supporting this team and having a place for the community to come together, for our young people to develop their skills, and to support affordable housing and jobs in our community.
Cedar Park Chamber Lunch: It was wonderful to be able to report to the Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce about the two Hotel Occupancy Tax Bills we passed this last legislative session to invest in economic development and tourism in Cedar Park.
WCRTA Meeting: The most humbling part of meeting with the Williamson County Retired Teachers Association was hearing about what put-off expenses will be covered by the 13th check our retired educators just received because of S.B. 12. Thanks for having me out to talk about this past session, our efforts moving forward, and for the certificate of appreciation.
Education Advocacy: I was honored to be recognized for my service and commitment to 7 million Texas public and higher education students by Educate Texas at Communities Foundation of Texas and Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium.
Visiting The Springs: I had a wonderful time touring The Springs Healthcare & Rehabilitation in Cedar Park. I enjoyed spending time with the patients and staff as well as discussing how Texas can provide the best skilled nursing care.
United Way Day of Caring: We joined hundreds of volunteers in the shared mission of making sure our communities continue to thrive by participating in the United Way of Williamson County Day of Caring! We had a great time volunteering with The Dog Alliance, a non-profit that trains therapy and service dogs in Cedar Park.
Leander Chamber Gala: Wonderful time at the Leander Chamber of Commerce Gala! Congratulations to Bridget Brandt and the Chamber staff and leadership for putting together an excellent event. House District 136 is a great place to live, work, and play.
Trib Fest: I enjoyed weighing in on politics in the suburbs as part of a Texas Tribune Festival panel with former Reps. Rodney Anderson and Larry Gonzales, Rep. Erin Zwiener, and Fort Bend County Judge KP George. The Texas Tribune's Ross Ramsey was a great moderator.
HD 136 ARTIST OF THE MONTH
Each month at our Capitol Office we are so proud to display and feature work from local artists. Our September Artist of the Month was Judy Copeland, with oil paintings the Texas Hill Country and Yellow Rose.
We have to keep talking about Medicaid expansion
A few weeks ago we received the official U.S. Census Bureau numbers showing that for the second year in a row the rate of uninsured persons in Texas increased, going from 17.3 percent to 17.7 percent. This is the first year-to-year increase in Texas in over a decade. Shortly thereafter, the latest data showed that Texas once again leads the nation in rate of uninsured children, with a rate that at 11.2 percent is over twice the national average. Now, the federal government estimates 80 percent of rural America is medically underserved. Nowhere is this problem worse than Texas -- which leads the nation in hospital closures -- where 11 percent of counties have no doctor and an additional 14 percent have just one.
If this past session was focused on education and our public schools, then the next session needs to be focused on Medicaid expansion and access to healthcare. I filed legislation that would have expanded Medicaid and allowed Texans to vote on the matter, and many of my colleagues filed legislation to address maternal mortality, mental healthcare, and rural hospital closures. By failing to expand Medicaid, by failing to pass to H.B. 744 by Rep. Toni Rose which would have extended Medicaid eligibility for mothers from 2 months to 12 months, and by failing to pass H.B. 342 by Rep. Philip Cortez which would have reduced red tape that unnecessarily removed Texas children from Medicaid, the Texas Legislature has failed to do what is best for the people of Texas. It's on us to get this right next session.
Redistricting Hearings Officially Underway
In mid-September the House Committee on Redistricting held the first of many hearings slated over the course of the next few years as part of the redistricting process. Since this meeting was held in the Capitol I was able to sit in and participate in the proceedings. We received an overview of the map-making process, including the constitutional requirements, as well as a briefing on changing demographic trends, before turning the floor over to the many citizens who came to testify. I'm grateful to everyone who came out and voiced their concerns or chimed in on social media or by reaching out to our office. The public input process is an important component to pair with census data to ensure we are not splitting up communities of interest.
Elections Committee Hearing
The House Elections Committee went down to Houston last month to hold a hearing on county-wide polling and listen to testimony about the implementation of this program in Harris County, which has the longest ballot in the country. Over 70 percent of Texas voters will use county-wide polling places when they vote this November. Those testifying talked about the benefit to students, young people, and first time voters when you have county-wide polling places to facilitate access to the ballot. In addition, we heard from the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities about concerns with in person, curbside, and ballot by mail voting. I filed legislation to help address some of these issues last session but they did not receive a hearing. My office intends to pursue this or similar legislation again in order to make it easier for all Texas citizens to vote.