Marshall Rotarians received a special visit this week from Texas Sen. Bryan Hughes, who visited Marshall at the East Texas Baptist University Campus on Thursday to speak to the community.

Hughes and his wife Leyla Hughes visited the organization for a luncheon at the university, followed by a talk given by Hughes updating the community on what the legislator has planned for the next session.

“He is a busy guy, so we appreciate him taking some time to be with us today,” said Sam Mosley, who introduced Hughes on Thursday.

During his speech, Hughes discussed the work being done in Austin for the last legislative session, including explaining and praising Texas’s state system, which he said is designed to ensure only a certain number of bills are able to make it through the house every session.

“We usually start with around 6,000 bills, and only some of those will make it to committee, and out of those only a few will be heard by the committee, and then even less pass through the committees to the house floor,” Hughes explained, “The government’s big enough, we don’t need a whole bunch of new laws every session.”

Hughes discussed a variety of issues faced by state legislature during the last session, including the recent rise in companies like BlackRock, an multinational investment company, whom Hughes said has been using its shares to influence companies into get rid of fossil fuel usage among other changes.

“We also have big banks such as Bank of America, who we have seen do something similar previously where they have declared they were not going to invest in fossil fuels or energy companies, and we said OK then Texas will not invest in you,” Hughes said.

He explained that he is looking to ensure that investment companies are designated to get share holders the most return on their investment, and not involved in politics, with the money they are being given.

“If you invest in a firm, they should be focused on getting you the maximum return on your investment, and that’s it,” he said.

During the meeting, Hughes also discussed the rise in property taxes that Texas has seen recently, stating that the majority of those taxes go to support the maintenance and operating costs for local school districts.

He said that the legislator did add a cap to property taxes, which don’t allow costs to raise over 2.5 or 3.5 percent from the previous year, with any funds needed by the school district over that amount covered by the state.

“We are supposed to be good stewards of that (tax) money, and that’s what we are trying to do,” he said.

Hughes also discussed during his event how certain public libraries and school libraries in the state have found, according to him, inappropriate books for children within their collections. He said that he is working to have those books identified and removed from public spaces to protect Texas children.

He added that he is working on a similar project to protect Texas children by banning parent and doctors within the state from allowing minors to receive gender reassignment surgery or hormone therapy.

“If there is an adult who wishes to take these supplements or to undergo this surgery, they have every right to, but when we are talking about children that is child abuse,” Hughes said.

During the event he also discussed the state wide legislative push in Texas that has utilized around $4 billion in Texas taxpayer funds to continue to build the border wall on the southern border of the state.

He said that the state is working with private land owners, along with building the wall on state-owned land, to complete the federal project begun by former President Donald Trump.

“I am so grateful to be able to represent you and this beautiful area of East Texas,” Hughes said, adding that he wished the whole of Marshall and the East Texas community a merry Christmas.

City Reporter

Jessica Harker has been the city reporter with the Marshall News Messenger since 2019.