AUSTIN, TX — The 87th Texas Legislature opens Tuesday with a longer than ever list of needs to address in the Lone Star State.
When it comes to constituent services, it's hard to beat representative Hugh Shine of Temple.
"The contact my office has with our constituents is, "What are some of the problems you face and run in to? And let's have a discussion about 'em and let's see if some of those things can be resolved,"" said the Republican lawmaker.
As the 87th Texas Legislature gavels to order Tuesday, lawmakers have their work cut out for them. Two years ago, the legislature only had 566 bills to consider. This session, the number has jumped to almost 750.
Still, voters feel their representatives will get the most important work done.
"I feel our politicians are focused on policy and not on personality and divisive issues. I wanna see work done for the people," explained Sterling Hill of Waco.
Bills in the hopper run the gambit from a more defined pension plan for state workers to tightening up on voter registration. There's even a bill relating to the renewal of driver licenses.
But aside from the "want to" bills, Representative Shine reminds us that he and his colleagues have some very important "have to" jobs ahead of them.
"We have a constitutional requirement to pass a balanced budget. We have to take care of public education, and we have to take care of redistricting," he said.
Three things, that normally take quite a bit of time. Add to that, the ongoing pandemic, and you can see lawmakers have quite a bit to get done.