TEXAS WORKFORCE COMMISSION AWARDS $564,469 IN GRANTS TO SOUTH TEXAS COLLEGE AND PSJA ISD

McALLEN – Today, Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa attended the Texas Workforce Commission Grant Award Ceremony where Commissioner Julian Alvarez presented a check for a Skills Development Fund Grant of $221,729 to South Texas College in partnership with a consortium of manufacturers to provide manufacturing job training for students in our region. Commissioner Alvarez also presented a check for a Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) Fund Grant of $342,740 to Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District to train high school students to learn manufacturing technology skills.

Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement:

“We in the Texas Legislature have been proactive in appropriating funding and making the necessary legislative changes to partner with our educational systems and the private sector, so we can adjust our education and training to develop the skilled labor force needed to sustain our changing economy. In working with the TWC and through Commissioner Julian Alvarez’s leadership and continued support of the Rio Grande Valley, these grants will do just that.

One of my priorities has always been to invest in our youth and workforce through education and skills training, and to create more jobs. These funds provide an excellent opportunity to expand career and technology courses, to give our students the skills they need to transition to a job in the manufacturing industry right out of high school, and to offer customized training opportunities for businesses and workers to increase skill levels and wages which will ultimately benefit all of our communities.”

In 2015, Senator Hinojosa authored and passed SB 1351 to transfer the JET grant program from the Comptroller’s Office to the Texas Workforce Commission and to allow grants to be awarded to high schools and not just community colleges. PSJA is the only school district in the entire state that has received a back to back JET grant since SB 1351 took effect.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa served as the Senate President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate in the 84th Texas Legislature. Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Transportation; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission.

Senator Hinojosa Appointed to Joint Interim Committee to Study State Judicial Salaries

AUSTIN, TX — Yesterday, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick appointed Senator Juan “Chuy” to the Joint Interim Committee to Study State Judicial Salaries. The committee is charged with studying the creation of a formula to calculate state judicial salaries.

Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement on his appointment to this committee:

Thank you to Lt. Governor Patrick for appointing me to the Joint Interim Committee to Study State Judicial Salaries.  Our judiciary is an equal branch of government, yet our judges are underpaid for the significant responsibilities they hold.  We continue to lose very experienced, responsible, and qualified judges to the private sector because of low pay. These judges make important decisions that impact our lives and result in serious consequences.  This issue needs a long-term resolution and we must develop a plan that fairly calculates state judicial salaries and adequately reflects the significant responsibilities our judges carry out each day.”

Other members of the committee include: Sen. Joan Huffman (Co-chair), Sen. Brian Birdwell, Sen. Sylvia Garcia, and Sen. Bryan Hughes.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa served as the Senate President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate in the 84th Texas Legislature. Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Transportation; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission.

Senator Hinojosa Appointed Co-Chair of the Joint Interim Committee on Disclosure of Emergency Call Information

AUSTIN, TX — Yesterday, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick appointed Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa as Co-Chair of the Joint Interim Committee on Disclosure of Emergency Call Information. The committee is charged with studying the process, handling, and disclosure of emergency call recordings made by individuals who subsequently die from the emergency described in their call.

Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement on his appointment to this committee:

“Thank you to Lt. Governor Patrick for appointing me as Co-Chair of the Joint Interim Committee on Disclosure of Emergency Call Information.  This is an extremely sensitive and challenging issue in that we must balance our 1st Amendment rights and the public’s right to know, with the personal privacy of families who have lost loved ones in a tragic situation and have had their anguish recorded and replayed through the disclosure of a 911 recording of a loved one’s emergency call.  We must come up with a solution that protects the privacy and heartaches of the families who have lost loved ones, while at the same time protects the public’s right to know.”

Other members of the committee include: Sen. Donna Campbell, Sen. Bob Hall, Sen. Don Huffines, and Sen. Jose Rodriguez.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa served as the Senate President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate in the 84th Texas Legislature. Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Transportation; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission.

RAYMONDVILLE DRAIN PROJECT GROUNDBREAKING FRIDAY SENATOR HINOJOSA PROUD TO SECURE $17.1 MILLION IN STATE FUNDING TOWARDS THE PROJECT

McALLEN, TX –  This Friday, a groundbreaking ceremony will take place for the long-awaited Raymondville Drain Project, a 63 mile drainage improvement system that will benefit Hidalgo, Cameron, and Willacy counties. As the largest regional project in the Rio Grande Valley, there has been significant public and governmental support for this project as it will allow for the future economic growth of our cities and communities by decreasing detrimental flooding events.

Senator Hinojosa released the following statement in anticipation of Friday’s groundbreaking:

“The Raymondville Drain project is a huge undertaking of enormous significance that will provide storm water management to our entire region and will continue the economic growth of our communities. The groundbreaking ceremony today is an important milestone in seeing this project come to fruition.

Over the last few years, we have worked tirelessly to identify and secure sources of available funds that would not burden our taxpayers or Hidalgo County. To date, I have helped secure $17.1 million in state funding for the Raymondville Drain and I am proud of our efforts to provide tremendous flood control for our communities.

Thank you to Hidalgo County, Hidalgo County Precinct 4 Commissioner Joseph Palacios, our local state and federal legislative delegation, as well as the citizens of Hidalgo County who have voted to support this project through local bonds.”

Recently, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) approved $4.5 million in funding for Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1 to finance costs of the  multi-phase drainage project known as the Raymondville Drain Project for Flood Control. As Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa was instrumental in authoring and securing a budget rider last session for this funding that directs the TWDB to allocate these funds. In the last biennium, the TWDB also allocated $5.6 million as a result of the same budget rider; and this past spring, TCEQ announced a $7 million grant from the Texas RESTORE Act grants made possible through the efforts of Hidalgo County Drainage District No.1 and Senator Hinojosa.

The Raymondville Drain groundbreaking event will take place on Friday, October 6 at 10:00 a.m. in Edinburg close to FM 2812 and Seminary Road.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Transportation; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission.

Celebrating Hector P. Garcia Day

AUSTIN, TX – Tomorrow commemorates the legacy of Dr. Hector P. Garcia, a Mexican-American civil rights leader who founded the American GI forum and fought for the rights of Hispanics in this country. In 2009, Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa designated the third Wednesday in September as Hector P. Garcia Day through Senate Bill 495. The bill authorized the observance of the day by schools and state agencies to honor Dr. Garcia and teach our younger generations about his legacy. Senator Hinojosa also passed a resolution naming a portion of State Highway 286 the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Highway in Corpus Christi.

Dr. Hector P. Garcia was a legendary physician and World War II Veteran who fought for the rights of Hispanics and veterans who were denied educational, medical and housing opportunities. A man who served and advocated for the most vulnerable and underserved portions in our communities, he reminds us that serving our community is an act of selflessness.

Senator Hinojosa commented on the value of commemorating Dr. Garcia’s contributions:

“It is important that our Texas youths learn about an extraordinary man who dedicated his life to public service and who broke down the barriers that existed at the time. Dr. Garcia made a significant difference in the freedoms we now enjoy and was able to advance the interests of Hispanics, even in the highest levels of government.

Dr. Garcia embodies the spirit of selflessness and public service. As a private American citizen, Dr. Garcia exercised his constitutional rights to elevate awareness about the plight of neglected Americans. As a physician, he provided access to medical care to underserved communities.  As a soldier, he demonstrated valor and sacrifice as he fought to protect our liberties. Dr. Garcia left us a legacy and his memory serves as lessons to us all.”

Dr. Garcia received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and earned a Bronze Star for his military service and six battle stars while protecting our way of life. He served as an advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter and served as the first Hispanic on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Transportation; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission.

Senator Hinojosa Appointed to Joint Interim Committee on Higher Education Formula Funding

AUSTIN, TX — Today, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick appointed Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa to the Joint Interim Committee on Higher Education Formula Funding. The committee is charged with preparing recommendations for realignment and/or possible elimination of non-formula support items and improvements of formula funding for institutions of higher education.

Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement on the importance of this committee and the need for a strong higher education funding plan:

Investing in our institutions of higher education is key to the future growth and success of Texas. Funding for higher education in the state budget plays a critical role in ensuring that our universities are providing our students with the tools they need to successfully complete their degrees. They also allow universities to collaborate with their communities to help address local challenges and respond to workforce needs.

It is imperative that we have discussions surrounding the possible realignment of formula funding and that we work to improve the way our institutions of higher education are funded. I am honored to have been appointed to this Joint Interim Committee so that South Texas is at the forefront of these critical discussions.

Higher education special items are items in the state budget that are not supported through formula funding and support the special mission of the institution. Special items can also be used to support new academic programs or address geographic disparities and other inequities among institutions.

Other members of the committee include: Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills (co-chair); Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham; Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels; and Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa served as the Senate President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate in the 84th Texas Legislature. Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Transportation; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission.

Governor Abbott Visits Corpus Christi to Announce Commission to Rebuild Texas for Hurricane Relief Efforts Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp to serve as Commissioner

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – Today, Governor Abbott along with Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, visited Corpus Christi to announce the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas. The Commission, led by Chancellor Sharp, will oversee the response and relief efforts between state and local governments to ensure victims of Hurricane Harvey get everything they need as quickly as possible.

The Commission will provide a single point of contact and authority for overseeing the rebuilding of public infrastructure — focusing on restoring roads, bridges, schools and government buildings in impacted communities. While there may be some overlap, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will have responsibility for assisting individuals with homes damaged or lost in the storm. This effort does not override or replace the excellent disaster management efforts currently underway through FEMA and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM).

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa offered the following remarks:

“Although the storm has passed, the long road to recovery is just beginning and we need a strong and collaborative team to rebuild our great state. Now is the critical time that our communities and families are in great need of resources, funding, and clear direction on how to begin rebuilding their lives.

I commend Governor Abbott for creating the Commission to work towards a quick recovery response for our devastated communities. Chancellor John Sharp was the perfect selection to lead this Commission and I thank him for his leadership in this challenging role.”

In addition to today’s visit to Corpus Christi, Governor Abbott and Chancellor Sharp will travel to regions impacted by Hurricane Harvey to meet with local officials regarding the needs of their communities. They will receive on-site briefings on the current response efforts and the ongoing recovery process. State agencies will also play a major role in coordinating with the Commission.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Transportation; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission.

 

SENATOR HINOJOSA’S STATEMENT ON DACA

AUSTIN, TX – Today, the Trump Administration announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement:

Ending DACA is cruel and morally unacceptable. This is not who we are as a country. We are not about hate or people ready to kick out young adults who were brought to this country as innocent children. Young adults who consider themselves Americans and who are proud of their country.

To end DACA is also shortsighted and works against America’s future growth and success. DREAMers make us more competitive as a nation and as a state by fostering economic growth, developing new ideas, and bettering our society. They are not eligible for welfare or any government benefits, yet DREAMers pay over $2 billion in state and local taxes each year.

Texas has always supported our DREAMers and was one of the first states to allow these high school graduates to pay in-state tuition. And the result has been tremendous — these DREAMers have excelled. They study hard, work hard, and contribute significantly to our society. Thousands have pursued their academic dreams and have entered our Texas workforce bolstering our economy. Without DREAMers our country would lose about $280 billion over a ten year period.

DREAMers live in our communities, they work with us in the Texas Legislature, they teach our children in classrooms, they provide healthcare in our hospitals, and most importantly, they are our family and friends.

We have made a significant educational investment in these students and they have not let us down. We cannot now let them down. Congress must act to provide a pathway for them to stay in our country. Legislators must put people over politics and craft a compassionate solution. I stand with these DREAMers and their families and offer support in this time of uncertainty.” 

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs; and  Transportation as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission.

BACK-TO-SCHOOL TAX FREE WEEKEND IS THIS WEEKEND AUGUST 11-13

AUSTIN, TX –  Texas’s highly successful annual Sales Tax Holiday is scheduled this year for Friday, August 11 through Sunday, August 13 and will offer Texans an opportunity to save millions in sales tax on clothing and various back-to-school items.  With the new school year almost upon us, the timing is perfect for students of all ages to stock up on clothes and supplies.

“The back-to-school season is an excellent opportunity for our Texas families to find bargains and low prices, and at the same time is an economic driver for our local businesses. I encourage you to take full advantage of the tax holiday and save more of your hard earned dollars by shopping during this coming weekend,” Senator Hinojosa stated.

Texans who shop during this weekend will not have to pay taxes on clothing, school supplies, or footwear priced under $100 and includes such items as baby clothes, diapers, and work uniforms. Items sold online as well as layaway plans also qualify. The following link to the Texas Comptroller’s webpage will provide more information and a complete list of tax-free items:

https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/publications/98-490/

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa served as the Senate President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate in the 84th Texas Legislature. Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Transportation; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission.

SENATOR HINOJOSA RESPONDS TO AN OPEN RECORDS REQUEST FROM AGUA SUD

A public information request was recently made to my office by Agua SUD for all documents related to Senate Bill 814, legislation I passed this session to increase transparency and curb conflicts of interests within the Agua SUD board. Today, I am releasing all information our office has on this issue, including all correspondence and documents in compliance with the Texas Public Information Act. Agua SUD should do the same and comply with all open records requests made by members of the public.

Since October of 2016 Agua SUD has received more than 30 open records requests from news outlets such as the Progress Times, The Monitor, Valley Central Channel 4, and other individuals requesting copies of all professional services agreements between Agua SUD and all the consultants they have hired. They refuse to release this public information and instead have appealed to the Attorney General’s office for an official opinion of whether they must do so.

These are taxpayer funds they are dealing with. The public has a right to know why, when, and how our government entities spend taxpayer money. Instead, Agua SUD is politicizing a taxpayer utility district for their own political agenda. I am amazed at the amount of time, energy, and taxpayer money that they are willing to waste to protect themselves and keep the public in the dark.

Agua SUD is an important utility district in one of the fastest growing areas in Hidalgo County. There must be transparency, accountability and protections of taxpayer money.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa served as the Senate President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate in the 84th Texas Legislature. Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Criminal Justice; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission.