With the legislative session in the rearview mirror, I’ll be returning to a bi-weekly column schedule to provide periodic updates on what’s happening around the state and in the district.

Though the heavy legislative lifting is behind us, it’s never too early to start preparing for the 87th Legislative Session, which will not begin until January of 2021. With that in mind, I want to encourage you to continue contacting my office with your thoughts on ways that we can work to address issues that matter to you in the future.

With that, here’s this week’s legislative update.

Legislative update. With the summer season upon us, I want to highlight a couple of bills Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed into law that will have an immediate impact on summer activities.

The first bill, House Bill 234, would prohibit local governments from enacting rules that block or regulate children selling lemonade on private property.

Believe it or not, there have been cases in Texas where local officials shut down a lemonade stand for their failure to produce a permit. Not surprisingly, this bill passed unanimously in both chambers and was recently signed by the governor to allow our young entrepreneurs to continue the timeless American tradition of selling lemonade without government interference.

With many graduating high school seniors looking toward their first semester of college in the fall, many will face the unfortunate reality of student loan debt. While many will seek to obtain occupational licenses for jobs that will help pay down this debt, current law allows for the denial or revocation of an occupational license because of a default on student loans.

SB 37, which was recently signed by the governor, would remove these barriers by ensuring that licenses cannot be denied or revoked because of a default on student loans.

This is a great piece of legislation that will have an immediate impact on so many of our students who are working to achieve financial independence and job stability.

District update. It is incredibly rewarding to be back home in the district where I once again have the opportunity to participate in events that I was unable to attend while in Austin.

One ceremony I recently attended was a check presentation for a local volunteer fire department. This grant was awarded through the Texas A&M Forest Service’s Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program, and when combined with the local cost-share match, will enable Kennard VFD to purchase a new tanker truck.

Volunteer firefighters make up two-thirds of all firefighters in Texas and this program is critical to helping our volunteer fire departments procure the trucks, equipment and essential fire training necessary to keep our communities safe.

I’m proud of the work we did this past session to fully fund this important program for the next two years.

Reminders. The mobile office is on the road this month and looks forward to seeing you on the following dates, in the following locations: from 9-11 a.m. June 19 at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crocket or from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton. The mobile office will be at the San Augustine County Courthouse in San Augustine from 9-11 a.m. June 26.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact our office if we can help you in any way. Our district office may be reached at 634-2762, or you can call our Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.

Trent Ashby is the state representative for District 57 that includes Angelina, Houston, Leon, Madison, San Augustine and Trinity counties. His email address is trent.ashby@house.state.tx.us.

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