LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The last 140 days in Austin brought new experiences for second-term legislator Trent Ashby.
Ashby said the time in Austin under first-term governor Greg Abbott was different under now-presidential candidate Rick Perry.
"There was a distinctively different feel in my opinion, between working with governor Perry's staff and then working now with Governor Abbott's on a day-to-day basis," Ashby said. "Governor Abbott is very engaged in the legislative process. His staff is on the floor every day. We never had to wonder where he stood on a number of the bigger priority issues."
Ashby said while no major issue will stick out from the 84th session, there was plenty done. According to the Texas Tribune, 11,335 bills were filed and almost half of them were passed. Ashby said the one that may be remembered the longest was open carry for anyone with a CHL.
"While it did take to the very end of session to pass that, the East Texans I heard from overwhelmingly spoke that they wanted open carry for CHL holders," Ashby said.
Ashby also said he was proud to work with fellow East Texas law makers in passing Kari's Law; a law that makes it a requirement to be able to dial 911, without having to dial out of a business first. The law was named after Kari Dunn. Dunn was killed in 2013 in a Marshall hotel room. Dunn's daughter tried to call 911 but did not know she had to press "1" first.
"It shows that people in East Texas can make a law happen," Ashby said. "I was proud that we had no push back on this law. It needed to be done."
Ashby did say he experienced some set backs and was upset that an ethics bill did not pass on the last chance.
"I feel like Texans want to know when dark money as we call it is being spent to influence campaigns and propaganda," Ashby said. "I think the people have a right to know who is funding those efforts."