An additional $9 billion for Texas public schools. Disaster funds. Medical marijuana expansion. An increase in sales tax and a commensurate decrease in local property taxes.

The 86th Texas Legislature is now in session and all of the above are on the table as elected officials from across the Lone Star State convene in Austin.   

While the big ticket item on the agenda this session is school finance reform, there are literally hundreds of bills Kerrville-area residents might want to keep tabs on. 

Regular readers will no doubt know that we print contact information for all the elected officials representing Kerrville and Kerr County residents at the bottom of our Opinion page each and every day.

Reaching out to an elected official is always a great way to give input or find out what’s happening on a given bill.

But the information age has also provided easier ways to get additional information on legislative action.

Did you know you can also use to look up individual legislators? You can also use the site to look up individual bills or even track a bill’s progress during the course of the session. 

In the House, Rep. Andrew Murr has been busy, authoring or co-authoring dozens of bills, from congratulating the Hill Country Arts Foundation on its 60th birthday to the appointment of magistrates in Kerr County, navigable watercourses, property taxes and more. 

Our state senator, Dawn Buckingham, also has her name attached to dozens of bills — including a number on issues involving the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, river authorities, flood and disaster planning and mental and behavioral health. 

All of those bills are available right there online.

The current session, which opened on Jan. 8, will close on May 27, barring a special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott. 

That’s not much time to work with — especially considering the staggering laundry list legislators hope to accomplish this session. 

And while things at the Capitol can sometimes seem as gridlocked as Austin traffic, legislators will be looking to move quickly as the clock ticks down.

Fortunately, the tools exist for both the news media and the general public to stay abreast of all the latest happenings.

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