The 83rd Texas Legislature convened on Tuesday, prepared to steer the Lone Star State through another session. Newschannel 6 spoke with 6-time State Senator Craig Estes (R- Wichita Falls) about the highest priorities this season.
Estes said one of the biggest goals has to be the continued growth of the Texas economy. He said this can be done by repealing Texas' Business Margin Tax and opening the state for more outside business. He said, "Texas has done a great job in attracting new businesses, but to be the only state in the union that has no business tax for people to come here and do business would be a great incentive I think. I think it would kick us into high gear as far as recruiting new businesses to Texas."
A necessity for both businesses and every resident of Texas is water. As we continue through a 2 year drought, the Senator said we need to invest in water infrastructure needs. He said, "We've designated 19 potential new reservoirs. Let's get started on building 1 or 3 of them. We may not build all 19 but we can get started on them."
Another priority for Estes touches on a national issue: Gun Control. Estes said he's working on a bill to provide state-funded special training for school employees with hand gun licenses so they are prepared to protect students from an active shooter.
Estes said, "Guns in the hands of good people, deter guns in the hands of bad people. At least, it evens the odds." The Harrold Independent School District allows teachers to carry guns in class, but Estes said what works there may not be right for the entire state and each district has to set its own guidelines.
The goal, Estes said, is to provide the option for those who want to take advantage of it. He said, "If school districts want this increased training and ability for their security personnel we want to be able to provide the money and the facilities to train them to do that."
The Texas State Legislature will be in session through the end of May.