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Connecting from the Capitol -- 81st Session
February 12, 2009

In this Issue . . .
  • In the District & At the Capitol
  • An Update from Representative Cohen
  • Cohen Named to Appropriations & Higher Education Committees
  • Students Invited to Become Honorary Pages
  • Meet Eronn Putman, TLIP Legislative Aide
  • Attention All Civic Clubs

  • An Update from Representative Cohen
    Swearing In

    The quick and efficient election of Rep. Joe Strauss as the new Speaker of the House seemingly set a tone for the month as January sped by. I have particularly been impressed by the sense of camaraderie and cooperation between members as we began this 81st Legislative Session.

    After being sworn in on January 13th, I have continued to work on my legislative agenda which currently includes:

  • Expanding CHIP to cover more uninsured children, maximize federal funds, and a "buy in" option
  • Establishing a Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission
  • Using a consistent measure for regulating electric bikes
  • Ensuring a Smoke-Free Texas by eliminating smoking in all work and public places
  • I am also tracking legislative efforts around the Top Ten Percent Rule, college tuition freezes, a "Prevention Works" bill regarding sex education, and raising the exemption to the business franchise tax. The initial meeting with the bipartisan Air Quality Caucus has already netted valuable dialogue.

    I invite you to keep up with bills as they are introduced and move from committees to a vote. You have two options to track the status of bills. Online you can use the Texas House of Representative Bill Search (click here). Or you can call 877-824-7038.

    Also, please consider a visit to the Capitol while the session is in progress. Yes, you can watch live broadcasts online. But there's nothing like experiencing the action firsthand.

    Thank you again for the opportunity to represent District 134. I value your input -- via letters, emails, calls, or the survey we now have online.

    State Representative Ellen Cohen

    Cohen Named to Appropriations & Higher Education Committees

    House Speaker Joe Straus named Representative Cohen to the Appropriations and Higher Education Committees on Thursday, Feb. 12.

    "I want to thank Speaker Straus for his trust in me. To serve on Appropriations and Higher Education is a great responsibility, and I look forward to the challenge. My experience in running an over $6 million non-profit organization will help me in dealing with the budgetary issues.

    "Issues surrounding Higher Education are extremely important to my district. I look forward to serving the people of our district by working on these two committees."

    Now in her second term representing District 134, Rep. Cohen previously served on the Urban Affairs and Public Health committees.

    Students Invited to Become Honorary Pages

    The House sponsors an Honorary Page Program for students 8 to 18 years of age. Each page serves a half-day shift in which he/she has the opportunity to watch the House proceedings, is granted floor access and works with the Sergeant-at-Arms office.

    To become a page representing District 134, students must email his/her name, address, phone number, parents' and/or guardians' names and school to info@ellencohen.o rg. We will then do our best to accommodate the request.

    Meet Eronn Putman, TLIP Legislative Aide

    Eronn Putman recently joined the staff of Rep. Cohen as part of the Texas Legislative Internship Program (TLIP). She is serving as a Legislative Aide during the 81st Legislative Session working alongside Rep. Cohen's Capitol staff.

    A Houston native and graduate of the Unversity of Houston with a political science major, Putman plans on attending law school after the session.

    TLIP is sponsored by Senator Rodney Ellis and administered by the Mickey Leland Center on World Hunger and Peace at Texas Southern University.

    Attention All Civic Clubs

    Our District Office is updating contact informaion for the various civic clubs in District 134. Please send the civic club name, address, phone number, email address, website, and primary contact name/number to Thank you for helping us keep in contact with what is happening in your neighborhood.

    In the District & At the Capitol
    Town Hall

    From election day to opening day of the 81st Legislative Session, State Representative Ellen Cohen filled the months with briefings, meetings, and working with constituents.

    Here is a sampling of her activities in Houston and in her first weeks at the Capitol:

  • Tour of Harris County Hospital District's People's Clinic
  • Tour of Recipe for Success with founder Gracie Cavnar
  • Town Hall Meeting at Roberts Elementary with special guest Harvey Kronberg
  • Guest role in Autumn Follies at Main Street Theater
  • Opening Day of the 81st Legislative Session and visits with several guests from District 134
  • Resolution to Kris Banks, president of the GLBT Caucus
  • Resolution to Ambassador Patrick Nandago of Namibia
  • For photos from these and other events, visit our photo gallery.


    Watch the 81st Session Online

    You can watch the 81st legislative session as it unfolds. Visit You can also check the status of bills as they are introduced at www.capitol.state. or by calling 877-824-7038.


    Recognitions & Appointments

  • Cool Globes Houston Programming Advisory Board
  • Texas Woman's University's Institute of Health Sciences - Houston Center Ambassadors Program
  • _____________________________

    Relocation of Offices

    We've moved! The District Office is now housed at 1535 West Loop South, Suite 320, Houston, 77027.

    In Austin, we are now located in the Capitol Extension building at E2.302.

    Quick Links


    Visit Rep. Cohen's state website

    See the Legislature in Session Online

    Tell Us Your Opinion - Complete Online Survey

    Check the Status of a Bill

    Ellen in the News

    Previous Editions of the Cohen Connection

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