State Rep. Bucy Hosts Town Hall on Schools, Border Crisis

Freshman legislator praises bipartisan support for "Texas values"

State Rep. Bucy Hosts Town Hall on Schools, Border Crisis

Passing school finance reform was the biggest accomplishment for the Texas Legislature in the past few decades, said state Rep. John Bucy III, D-Austin, during his first post-session town hall, held in Leander last week. The freshman legislator, one of 12 Texas Democrats to flip a GOP-held seat in the 2018 elections, praised the "massive bipartisan support" seen during the 86th Legislature for laws addressing "Texas values," instead of the "visceral" and "nasty" culture-­war battles of previous sessions.

Bucy told attendees that House Bill 3 was "the biggest increase in public funding for our schools in over 30 years," while also letting local school districts – such as Round Rock ISD and Leander ISD – keep more of their locally raised revenue. The bill's adjustments to the state recapture ("Robin Hood") system will allow the two suburban districts to hold on to more than $130 million over the next biennium. While acknowledging the bill did not solve all school funding problems, Bucy noted that both districts will be able to increase teacher pay and all Texas schools will end up with "almost a thousand dollars for every kid" for extra resources.

On the downside, Bucy said, a "failure of this legislative session" was not passing Medicaid expansion, including House Joint Resolution 40, which would have let voters decide whether to expand coverage to an estimated 1.1 million low-income Texans. During the session, Bucy filed an amendment to the budget to expand Medicaid, which was rejected on party lines. "We need to choose to bring our money back to our local community and make sure it helps the people in the county and in House District 136," he told his constituents. "We're talking about millions and millions of dollars locally that we're paying for and not getting the benefit [of]."

Bucy was joined by chairs and representatives from six of his Community Advisory Boards, each with around 15 constituents from HD 136 who focused on a single issue (health care, education, criminal justice, etc.) and provided analysis on specific bills during the session. Mike Mendoza, on the criminal justice board, said he prioritized addressing felon disenfranchisement, police oversight, and marijuana decriminalization during the session. He said he encouraged Bucy to support many bills addressing these reforms, but "unfortunately, none of the bills made it across the board."

Bucy also fielded audience questions on migrant detention centers, property taxes, and the state's perceived overregulation of local issues. In response to audience concerns about conditions in the centers, and children being transported on overcrowded school buses, Bucy said that while state representatives don't get to directly influence federal policy, he is raising awareness and meeting with other lawmakers to help provide resources to people seeking asylum. "This isn't an inherently Republican versus Democrat issue," he said. "I don't think history tells us that it is, but there is something going on right now. We have a crisis at the border, and I fully believe that people are not being treated humanely. And we have to do something about it."

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More 86th Texas Legislature
Texas Rangers Get Wrangled Into
Texas Rangers Get Wrangled Into "Bonnenghazi" Drama
Scandal surrounding House Speaker Dennis Bonnen burns on

Mary Tuma, Aug. 16, 2019

Bonnenghazi! Drama Reigns in the Texas House
Bonnenghazi! Drama Reigns in the Texas House
Did the speaker give his hard-right enemy a political target list?

Mary Tuma, Aug. 9, 2019

More John Bucy III
Rep. John Bucy III, HD 136
Rep. John Bucy III, HD 136
“Any progress to get back to where we treat all humans as equal ... I’ll of course support”

Benton Graham, Jan. 6, 2023

Will Texas Expand Medicaid?
Will Texas Expand Medicaid?
Long-running health care debate looks different through a pandemic prism

Beth Sullivan, Jan. 15, 2021

More by Megan Menchaca
AISD and St. Edward's Partner for Dual Language Program
AISD and St. Edward's Partner for Dual Language Program
Summer Bridge program gives ninth graders a taste of college

July 31, 2019

Take a Survey for a More Queer-Friendly Rideshare Experience
Take a Survey for a More Queer-Friendly Rideshare Experience
Homobiles wants to hear from LGBTQIA+ drivers around the country

July 2, 2019


School finance reform, John Bucy III, Round Rock ISD, Leander ISD, Medicaid expansion, Mike Mendoza, migrant detention centers, 86th Texas Legislature, House Joint Resolution 40, House Bill 3, House District 136, Community Advisory Boards

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle