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87th Legislative Session convenes in Texas, this time, with many pandemic-related restrictions

Texas Capitol
Posted at 5:47 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 19:19:18-05

BRYAN, TEXAS  — The 2021 Texas Legislative Session began Tuesday, marking the first day of the 87th regular session.

Each and every new session, is a critical time for lawmakers, and the common Texan, which occurs every other year.

"Last session was a tremendous success, among other things, that we accomplished in the past," Governor Greg Abbott said in opening remarks. "But now new challenges await us, this session," the Governor added.

One group responsible for enhancing the economic outlook of area businesses in the Bryan College-Station community, is having to adapt and transition their efforts around the pandemic, and its regulations, for this new session at the Capitol.

During every legislative session, the BCS Chamber of Commerce sends a group to represent our area.

This year, due to the pandemic and the restrictions on guests and capacities, has forced the Chamber to look for alternate ways to have their voices heard.

"This is the most abnormal session that we are ever going to see, hopefully," Leighton Schubert, Co-Chair BCS Legislative Action Committee said.

Executive Vice Chancellor at Blinn College, and Co-Chair of BCS Chamber Legislative Action Committee, Schubert, says, his team won't be making an in-person trip this year.

However, that doesn't mean their ideas and opinions are staying at home.

"The Legislative Action Plan is glossy, it looks good. The Chamber does a good job with the actual document, but nothing replaces that in-person interaction between members and their staff and that's what we really like." Schubert added.

New challenges, during a time where the state is responsible for new laws, for the next two years.

A critical time, affecting all areas and aspects of every day living including functionality right here, in the Brazos Valley.

" ...and that ranges from budgets, to finance, to transportation dollars. That's a big deal here in the Brazos Valley with our growing population," Schubert added.

Unsure of what the access to the Capitol would look like in this particular session due to the restrictions surrounding the pandemic, the BCS Chamber decided not to send a group to visit lawmakers in-person.

Normally in February, the BCS Legislative Action Committee takes their Legislative Action Plan to Austin, where they have a kick-off meeting between State Representatives and Senators. Unable to meet face-to-face, they are adapting to continue to represent the interests of the Brazos Valley.

"One of the things we are developing for the Legislative Action Plan this year, is a video component. Recording, a recreation of the meetings we would be having in legislator's offices, in video," Schubert said. "that is one of the things that we are looking at doing that would be a great addition, in this very unique session," Schubert added.

"Finance, tax regulation, transportation, higher education, public education and what we do, is we develop the top bullet points, or points, that we would like to discuss with legislators and their staff that are relevant to the chamber, and the chambers members," Schubert added.

"Now, more than ever, Texans need you to succeed this session, but equally important, now more than ever, America needs Texas to lead the way," Governor Abbott added.

Passing a balanced budget, redistricting of voting districts, response to the pandemic and it's funding, along with police funding and reforms, are just a few items expected to be discussed in this new legislative session.