AUSTIN -- State Representative Byron Cook (Corsicana) took the oath of office on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, to continue serving the hard-working citizens of Texas House District 8 for the eighth term. Cook was honored to join his 149 colleagues of the Texas House of Representatives, to once again cast his vote for Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, in a historic unanimous election.
The 85th Legislature is tasked with balancing a $200 billion budget facing appropriation shortfalls of a 2.7 percent decrease from the last legislative session in 2015. Cook remarked, "The downturn of the state's energy industries created a sluggish economic forecast, which requires policymakers to become innovative in judiciously funding essential state services, with the goal of bolstering the economy".
In the 140-days of the regular session, the Texas House will also address issues which include: seeking much-needed improvements to the embattled child welfare system, ways to approach mental illness more efficiently, consider policies to reduce property taxes and explore options to better fund public schools.
"Finding ways to significantly reduce mistreatment of Texas' youth will be a top priority and focus, as there is no excuse for our state to not have critical protections from abuse and neglect in place for our children," Cook stated.
Although the power to which criminal immigrants may enter or be removed resides solely with the federal government, Cook will focus on working to pass legislation that ensures Texas citizens are protected from criminal immigrants. Cook said, "Enacting a law, which provides an enforcement mechanism, as well as a uniform policy for state and local law enforcement compliance with Immigration and Customs Enforcement could help our officers in keeping Texas streets safe and should be done".
In November, Cook pre-filed legislation to do away with abhorrent, antiquated fetal disposal practices to ensure that fetal remains in Texas will be treated with dignity, and not waste.
"Continuing to work with my colleagues I will seek to find as much common ground as possible to advance good public policy," Cook said. "Hearing from constituents of House District 8 about issues of concern is always helpful".
CONTACT: Toni Barcellona