HISD high school students traveled to Austin on Tuesday, Jan. 8 to visit the State Capitol on opening day of the 2019 Texas Legislative Session.
Fifty students from East Early College, Yates, Eastwood Academy, Bellaire, Sterling, Wisdom, and Westbury high schools and Young Woman’s College Preparatory Academy observed the ceremonial swearing-in of members of the Texas Senate and House of Representatives. There are 31 members of the Texas Senate and 150 members of the Texas House of Representatives.
The group had the unique experience of witnessing the election of a new House Speaker, which hasn’t occurred since 2009. Rep. Dennis Bonnen from Angleton was unanimously elected to serve as Speaker. Speaker Bonnen pledged to make school finance reform his top priority.
Students also toured the Capitol and met with policy experts and Houston-area lawmakers to learn about the legislative process, how a bill becomes law, and the role of the people in advocating for policy changes. The students shared their ideas with lawmakers, including adequately funding public education and addressing school safety.
“This was an extraordinarily valuable experience for our students,” said HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan. “The opportunity to learn about state government and engage in the lawmaking process builds the leadership qualities of an HISD Global Graduate.”
Sen. Borris Miles, Sen. Carol Alvarado, Rep. Armando Walle and Rep. Ana Hernandez were able to stop by and visit with the students. Thank you to our Senators and Representatives for visiting with our students.
State lawmakers meet every two years. The legislative session begins on the second Tuesday of each odd numbered year and lasts 140 days. School finance reform, addressing school safety, and Hurricane Harvey recovery will be priorities for state lawmakers during the 2019 legislative session.
You can learn more about the Texas Legislature and issues impacting HISD by visiting the Houston ISD Legislative Center at www.houstonisd.org/legislativecenter.