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Friends,

The 85th Regular Legislative Session has ended and I am happy to be back home. It is always an incredible experience to represent my friends, neighbors, and our community in Austin. While the policymaking process can be challenging, the long hours are worth it to make real progress and move our state forward.

This year, my team and I delivered legislative victories on several fronts.

Foster parents will now be able to act as special education decision-makers, empowering them to better care for the children in their care and improving conditions for children in the Texas foster care system at large.

Employees seeking help in recovering unpaid wages may now file a claim electronically with the Workforce Commission. This will expedite the claim process and bring real relief to hard-working Texans owed income.

Finally, I was privileged this year to serve on the House Appropriations Committee for the first time. Despite a hostile budget climate, key El Paso interests were protected and advanced. These include funding for Texas Tech Health Science Center - El Paso's future dental school, continued special item support for the University of Texas - El Paso's pharmacy school, funding for the state's Rio Grande Compact lawsuit so that farmers receive their fair share of water, and a $32 million appropriation for an intelligent transportation system at two El Paso ports of entry, which will help grow trade and expand our local economy.

As interim committee hearings progress, I look forward to regular emails with you over the coming months. If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, please email me at Mary.Gonzalez@house.state.tx.us or call my office at (915) 790-2299.

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