Texas House Speaker Joe Straus added hundreds of items to the list of things he wants state representatives to get done before the legislature meets in 2019.

On Monday, Straus issued 230 charges for elected officials to address in committee hearings over the next year. The items include things related to Texas’ recovery from Hurricane Harvey — though the list also includes non-storm related items, like studying student achievement improvement methods and reviewing the state’s conflict-of-interest laws.

“This is an opportunity for the legislature to better understand the impact of the storm, to evaluate the response of state agencies and to prepare for future disasters,” Straus said in a statement. “Hurricane Harvey will impact just about every major issue in the next legislative session, and the House should be fully prepared for that moment.”

Among the Harvey-related issues, Straus ordered hearings on the storm’s effects on agriculture and livestock, on the workforce available to help industries recover and on how Harvey affected county finances.

In addition to the orders, Straus also announced the creation of the Select Committee on Opioids and Substance Abuse. The committee will study the prevalence and impact of substance abuse and substance use disorders in the state.

“Opioid addiction is a national epidemic that has had a devastating impact on many lives,” Straus said. “It’s important that we learn more about the prevalence and impact of opioid addiction and other substance abuse issues in Texas.”

The next regular session begins in January 2019.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.


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