FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2009
Austin - Today, state Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) joined 30 other senators and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst for the opening day of the Texas Senate for the 81st Legislative Session. The Texas House and Senate meet for 140 days in odd-numbered years. This is Nichols' second session as senator.
"There are advantages to no longer being a freshman senator," said Nichols. "This time around I am able to start the session with an office set up, a staff in place, and with many bills already filed."
The Legislature convenes the day after Comptroller Susan Combs released an estimated revenue report of $77 billion dollars for the next two years, about $9 billion less than the last biennium. Nichols said this report will affect how the Legislature sets the state budget.
"Even though the Texas economy is performing better than most other states, there is simply less money available this session," said Nichols. "It is now especially important for the Legislature to prioritize the state's needs and cut waste."
Nichols' legislative priorities include: offering a quality education to Texas children, halting the rapid rise in home tax appraisals, finding effective and fair ways to fund Texas transportation, protecting water rights, and strengthening landowner's rights.
"Much of my work this session will be about building on the progress we made last session," said Nichols. "The really important issues rarely go away. It requires lawmakers' attention year after year."
Nichols encouraged constituents to stop by his office anytime they are visiting the Capitol, especially during session. He also encourages them to call or write to share there opinions about pending legislation.
"My name may be on the door, but the office really belongs to the people of Senate District 3," said Nichols. "I encourage visitors to come during the six months of session because it's the best time to see their government at work."