Bell is the Texas State Representative of House District 4 for the 86th Texas Legislature. District 4 is a district of the Texas House of Representatives that serves the whole of Kaufman County and Henderson County.
Texas Peace Officers Memorial Service
An emotional day at the Capitol on Friday, May 10 as we honored our state’s fallen officers during the Texas Peace Officers Memorial Service. We are forever indebted to the 13 brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice while in the line of duty last year. Today we honor those who have fallen, while continuing to support those who put their lives on the line to protect and serve Texas everyday. Their bravery and sacrifice will not be forgotten.
Teacher Appreciation Week
It's Teacher Appreciation Week! Happy to celebrate our state's outstanding teachers on their unwavering commitment towards educating and mentoring future generations of Texas. Teachers play such a tremendous role in each student's life, and we are so appreciative of both current and retired teachers for all that they do for our communities. Providing them with the resources they need to ensure their students success is a top priority of mine. Please thank all of the wonderful teachers you know for their hard work and dedication!
House Bill 2210
Last week I laid out HB 2210 to the House chamber, and was pleased to see it pass unanimously. HB 2210 addresses certain students being improperly included in districts accountability ratings. There is currently confusion as to whether students receiving residential services in state hospitals can be counted towards districts accountability ratings. HB 2210 amends the current education code to clearly omit these students from the ratings, providing relief for those districts currently affected by this issue.
Meeting with Judge McKee
Had the opportunity to meet with Judge Scott McKee in Austin, where we had a great discussion concerning a few of the pertinent issues facing Texans today. Appreciative of his leadership and commitment to the people of HD 4, as well as his helpful insight regarding upcoming legislation.
Laying out SB 1776 to Committee
On Tuesday, May 7 I laid out SB 1776 to my fellow committee members on the House Committee on Public Education. SB 1776 provides that the State Board of Education shall develop a curriculum for a course on the founding principles of the United States that may be offered as an elective credit by school districts. SB 1776 would help ensure that future generations of Texans have full knowledge and understanding of the ideals and processes that have made America so great, by encouraging further study of the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and the writings of the founding fathers.
HB 4242 Update
On Wednesday, May 8 the Texas House passed HB 4242. This bill will impose a one year moratorium on penalties schools and school districts receive based on STAAR scores while the validity and readability of the tests are studied by an independent group of qualified educators with experience teaching in Texas public schools. It’s crucial that our STAAR Tests accurately measure the material that Texas students are taught, as studies have shown that the readability of past STAAR Tests have proven to be above grade level for students in third through eighth grade. HB 4242 represents a step forward towards improving our standardized testing system.
I signed on to be a joint author for Representative Darby's House Bill 2736, which will create a mechanism for transferring matters between regional planning commissions in Texas. The current process is simply a written request for a transfer sent to the Governor, but the process does not have guidelines and it makes transfers complicated. This bill outlines criteria for a request to meet and creates a process for regional planning transfers. HB 2736 will make regional planning between counties simpler and more structured. These transfers can be related to roads, agriculture, water supply, or development that happens between two counties. I was glad to offer my support for HB 2736 when it passed through the House on Friday afternoon.
An update on school finance. A Conference Committee consisting of members of both the House and Senate was recently announced. These members will now meet as a single body in order to come to an agreement over the variations of HB 3, each chamber's answer for school finance reform. I am extremely proud of the hard work the House has done on HB 3, and hope to see that work reflected in the final version of the bill.