Nature-Based Infrastructure Bill Heads To Home Floor As Legislative Session Continues
Texas State Representative Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood) this week introduced several internal bills for the 87th Texas Legislative Session in committee, one of which is heading to the house floor.
Zwiener introduced House Bill 48 to the House International Relations and Economic Development Committee and Bills 2344 and 2350 to the House Public Education Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee , respectively.
All the bills have been received favorably, according to Zwiener’s chief of staff Victoria Godinez, and HB 2350, which would encourage nature-based infrastructure projects through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, has been passed outside the committee and on the floor of the house for debate.
“Nature-based infrastructure is a powerful tool for mitigating flooding and also offers additional benefits such as recharge of aquifers, outdoor space and reduction of heat islands,” Zwiener said. “HB 2350 will allow municipalities to use a bottom-up approach to develop locally led projects to meet the needs of their community. “
If the bill becomes law, communities seeking loans for sanitation upgrades could access additional funds for projects such as rain gardens, wetlands and other projects that create surfaces. permeable, allowing rainwater to seep into aquifers rather than run off onto surfaces. The nature-based infrastructure project would be financed by lowering the interest rate on the entire project. Although nature-based infrastructure can help reduce the impact of flooding and increase groundwater supplies, it has not been widely adopted statewide.
The bill was also backed by the Hays County Commissioners Court at their regular meeting on Tuesday.
House Bill 2344 would allow school districts to implement a writing portfolio to fulfill the writing component of state-required reading assessments.
“Portfolio-based writing assessments can provide a better and more in-depth assessment of student writing progress without the negative impacts of standardized writing tests,” Zwiener said. “Standardized writing tests increase students’ reluctance to write, can often derail a student’s progress, and do not provide a reliable assessment of a student’s skills. It’s time to use a better tool.
Standardized writing assessments assess students against a formula, and teaching that formula to students often leads them to become less creative and more uncertain in their writing skills. Writing portfolios scores students on their body of work and provides a more in-depth reflection of their skills.
House Bill 48 seeks to extend protections against sexual harassment not only to employees of large corporations, but also to small businesses in Texas. Under current law, employees in workplaces with fewer than 15 employees effectively have no access to due process when they are victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. They cannot file a complaint in a district court. This bill would subject all Texas employees to the same rules.
“Every worker in Texas deserves a workplace free from sexual harassment, and when they are sexually harassed, they deserve due process,” Zwiener said. “HB 48 is a step in the right direction to ensure that all Texas employees are protected in the workplace from sexual harassment. “
Under current law, Texans can only file a workplace sexual harassment complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission if their employer has 15 or more employees. HB 48 will extend this to employees in workplaces of all sizes, providing a unique base of protections and due process access for every employee in Texas.
The Senate Companion, worn by Senator Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), has already been unanimously adopted by the Texas Senate.