Issues

Working Together for Better Education

Better Paid Teachers
The first step towards investing in our future is to invest in our children’s public education. Senator Menéndez supporting top-quality teachers are key to building classrooms that are gateways to global opportunities. Thirty-six states pay teachers a higher starting salary than Texas. Senator Menéndez filed Senate Bill 1303 to give a pay raise to every public school teacher in the state.

Less Testing
As the father of three children, Senator Menéndez knows the physical and emotional stress these burdensome test put on our young students. That’s why he filed Senate Bill 1302, which reduces testing for elementary and middle school students. Our government needs to create an education system that puts less emphasis on testing and more emphasis on learning.

Working Together for Our Veterans

Mental Health Priorities
Serving our Veterans continues to be a priority for Senator Menéndez. This session he passed Senate Bill 1304 and Senate Bill 1305, which creates a rural mental health program for Veterans and a bill supporting female Veterans mental health as well.

Senator Menéndez also helped secure $20 million and pass Senate Bill 55, which creates the Texas Veterans Initiative – a collaborative partnership that address Veterans mental health, needs in innovative ways. With 1 out of 3 Veterans being diagnosed with PTSD these mental health programs remain crucial for our nation’s heroes.
In his previous work as Chair of House Committee on Defense and Veterans’ Affairs, he created one of the state’s largest mental healthcare systems for our Veterans. At that time, he authored House Bill 2392 which developed the Military Veteran Peer Network and appropriated over $3 million to assist members of the military, veterans, and their families cope with mental health issues. The new law put a major focus on peer-to-peer counseling and increase the number of counselors. Peer-to-Peer counseling allows better interaction and treatment for a wounded warriors who may need that “been there and I can understand” strength from a fellow veteran.

Healthcare Strike Force Team
Senator Menéndez refused to wait on Washington to help our Texas Veterans. So many of our nation’s heroes have been treated disgracefully by the Veterans Administration’s healthcare system. Senator Menéndez helped create the Healthcare Strike Force Team. Any Veteran can meet with the state’s Healthcare Strike Force Team to get the care they need and deserve at the VA.

Employing Veterans
Veteran unemployment is at one of the highest levels in recent history. Throughout his tenure in office, Senator Menéndez has worked to pass multiple bills make it easier for a Veteran to find a job. These bills allowed a service member with a specialty skill learned in the military to apply to their learned skill to a civilian job with occupational licenses.

Working Together for a More Prosperous Economy

Small Business
Building a vibrant economy for Texas means fairer regulations for small businesses. Senator Menéndez knows small businesses are the backbone of the Texas economy. Growing up, he worked in his family-owned and operated business, and saw firsthand how over taxing and regulations can hurt a small company. Senator Menéndez supports efforts to strengthen our small businesses through access to training, financial literacy and providing resource networks like Café Commerce that help business to grow. He will work with small business owners to build a tax system that is fairer and less burdensome.

Creating More Jobs
Senator Menéndez believes the road to middle class is lined with good, high paying jobs. That’s why he worked with Brooks City-Base and Port San Antonio after the military closed these former bases. Senator Menéndez was a key advocate for programs and polices that helped these institutions create thousands of news jobs for San Antonio.

Diversifying Our Economy
While the oil boom is driving Texas’s economy now, Senator Menéndez knows this is the best time to diversify the economy of the future. Texas has always promoted a fierce entrepreneurial spirit and nowhere is that more prevalent than technology companies. Businesses that are competing on a global scale often do so in the digital world. San Antonio has carved out a unique marketplace for tech business with companies like Rackspace and Secure Logix. Our state officials must work together with universities and technology companies to help innovate our future economy.

Working Together to Protect Our Public Safety

Senate Bill 1317 seeks to criminalize the act of taking an invasive photograph or recording of an individual without consent. Last year, the Texas Court of Appeals found that the statute governing invasive photos was written too broadly. Senate Bill 1317 tailors the language to specifically address intentionally taking invasive recordings or photos of an individual without consent in a public place.

Working Together For a Better Transportation System

Traffic is a daily headache for Texas families and cost our economy millions of dollars each year. The problem of congestion and crumbling bridges is not going away as more and more people move to this state. That’s why Senator Menéndez helped negotiate a multi-million dollar investment with Texas Department of Transportation to fund expansions of highways in Bexar County like 1604. As state senator, he has worked with our local community partners to build more non-tolled roads in San Antonio and beyond. Texas must improve its infrastructure because 21st Century jobs are not going to move to a state with outdated, 19th Century bridges and roads.

Working Together for Our Senior Citizens

Senator Menéndez was the sponsor for HB 3089, which would require senior housing complexes to be retrofitted with sprinklers. This piece of legislation is so important after the Wedgewood Fires. Our seniors deserve to live in a safe and reliable home.
For years the arrival of the “Baby Boomers” has loomed on the horizon as one of the milestones of the early 21st Century. That time has arrived. There is urgency for ensuring that the growing numbers of senior citizens are provided for in their retirement years. The best of health care, housing, transportation, assisted living and a safe secure environment are critical needs that must be addressed immediately. Government must make these matters a priority, and Senator Menéndez is committed to doing just that.

Working Together For A Better Budget

While some politicians like to vote NO on the budget then go home and complain how they didn’t get everything they wanted, Senator Menéndez was able to secure millions of dollars for District 26 students and families.
The General Land office will receive $32 million the largest appropriation ever for the renovation and development of the Alamo.
Alamo Colleges will receive $9 million for Veteran Initiatives that includes funding for a Veteran’s Training and Assistance Center at San Antonio College. The center will serve as a conduit for information and services for San Antonio veterans. The center will accommodate injuries and disabilities in a manner traditional colleges may not be equipped to handle.

The San Antonio Life Sciences Institute (SALSI) will receive more money than any other time in recent history. The $8 million investment means San Antonio can train more nurses and more doctors to fight infectious diseases and treat illnesses.
Texas A&M San Antonio will receive $14 million additional dollars in the 2016/2017 budget than in the 2014/2015 budget. This huge investment will allow Texas A&M San Antonio to serve more students and grow their beautiful campus.
Senator Menéndez successfully fought for an additional $2.8 million for the University of Texas San Antonio. With this strategic investment UTSA can offer more support services so students can succeed.