Last week saw another marathon hearing in the State Affairs committee, and the House passed its first bills of the session. Last week also represented the half-way point of the 87th Legislative Session.

One of the first bills to pass in the House reflects one of the most well-known changes made during the pandemic: allowing restaurants to serve alcohol to-go. HB 1024 repeals one of the regulations that was waived in order to help restaurants survive the pandemic. I am proud to support this legislation and many other bills which will formalize the waiver of regulations that were suspended during the pandemic.

The State Affairs Committee had another marathon hearing, starting at 8 a.m. Thursday morning and not ending until 4:30 a.m. Friday morning. As you can imagine, the hearing covered a wide range of issues, from adding resiliency to our electric grid, protecting churches from government ordered shut downs, ending the defunding of police in Texas, and banning taxpayer-funded lobbying.

Another committee that had a marathon hearing yesterday was the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee. Over several hours of testimony, they heard bills relating to constitutional carry. I am proud to again co-author this legislation, which would allow Texans to carry their legally held firearms without a permit.

We are in the part of session where legislation is moving fast and I want to encourage you to reach out to me about issues that concern you or legislation that you would like to see advanced. I can be reached at (512) 463-0556 or

In addition, my district director, Joe Buck Crisp, will be spending time each month in every county to meet with you about legislative concerns and to help with issues you may be having with the state government. Please contact our Marshall office at (903) 935-1141 to find out when Joe will be in your town.

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Rep. Chris Paddie represents Cass, Harrison, Marion, Panola, Sabine and Shelby Counties in the Texas House of Representatives. His weekly Capitol Update column will run during the current Texas Legislature session.