The Austin Chronicle

Rep. Vikki Goodwin, HD 47

“... Actually figuring out solutions to our epidemic of gun violence”

By Lina Fisher, January 6, 2023, News

Rep. Vikki Goodwin, who's served on both the Environ­mental Regulation and the Homeland Security & Public Safety committee, has taken on a seemingly impossible task in this Texas Legislature: gun regulation. Having filed 12 separate bills relating to bolstering waiting periods, background checks, and more, Goodwin says she'll "start with making sure the committee that hears the bills is interested in actually figuring out solutions to our epidemic of gun violence. Right now, it's made up of people that are very open to loosening gun laws."

She says she'll continue to prioritize pay increases for teachers and state employees, and will join Rep. Erin Zwiener in pushing back against anti-LGBTQ bills and "any that limit access to contraception." She'll also try to strengthen the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which is under Sunset review, by raising its maximum penalty for violators and tightening regulations around multiple concrete plants in the same area to account for "cumulative impacts that are bad for people's health."

Goodwin has also filed bills that would address Austin-specific issues. One would legalize ranked choice voting for state offices and school boards, and another (not yet filed) would allow it for municipalities that have already adopted RCV in their city charters – as Austin voters did in May 2021. Another bill would give counties with a population of 1 million or more the authority to enforce a wildland-urban interface building code to mitigate wildfire risk; Austin was the first major city in Texas to incorporate such a code into its land use regulations (in 2020), but California has had a statewide WUI mandate for decades.

Goodwin says she's optimistic about bipartisan possibilities in the 88th Lege, compared to the COVID-restricted opportunities for dialogue last session: "I think it'll be much better this time around."

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