Erin Zwiener, State Representative, House District 45
Erin Zwiener is a fifth-generation Texan and lifelong conservationist who currently represents Texas House District 45
Austin, TX – Surrounded by family and supporters, Texas State Representative Erin Zwiener filed for reelection. She is a fifth-generation Texan and lifelong conservationist who currently represents Texas House District 45.
“It’s my greatest honor and privilege to represent Hays and Blanco Counties in the Texas House,” said Rep. Zwiener. “Together, we’ve secured more school funding, fought for affordable health care, passed legislation to protect our aquifers and our night sky, and stood up to a company that wants to build a pipeline across our beautiful Hill Country. But, the fight for a better Texas continues.”
During her first legislative session, Rep. Zwiener established herself as the new environmental champion of the Texas House. She passed the Hill Country Night Sky Tourism Law (HB 4158), which allows small cities like Dripping Springs and Blanco to use their local Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue to preserve their dark skies. She also passed the Buda Aquifer Storage and Recovery Law (SB 483), which will allow the City of Buda to store excess surface water underground and rely less on Edwards Aquifer water in times of drought.
Additionally, Rep. Zwiener became adept at the House rules and used them to protect local water quality ordinances. Legislation (HB 3750) to eliminate water quality protections in cities’ outskirts was slated to pass, but she raised a point of order, which stopped the bill.
“We have more work to do,” said Rep. Zwiener. “I want more oversight over rock quarries in the Hill Country, more tools to manage storm water during flooding, more incentives for water conservation, and a public routing and environmental assessment process for future oil and gas pipelines.”
Her work during the 86th Legislature earned her accolades from Texas Monthly where she was described as, “the most savvy freshman and potential future leader of the House Democrats.”
Rep. Zwiener also partnered with Representative Donna Howard to successfully amend the state budget to require an audit of sexual assault prosecution processes across the state of Texas. Rep. Zwiener included language in the amendment to collect data on sexual assault prosecution rates by jurisdiction and hopes to use that data to target resources for survivor-focused training for investigators and prosecutors.
“Sexual assault survivors deserve a fair shot at justice,” said Rep. Zwiener. “If someone has the courage to come forward and report their assault, I want to make sure that the law enforcement officers and the prosecutors they work have all they tools they need to successfully pursue that case.”
Partnering with Senator Judith Zaffirini, Rep. Zwiener came heartbreakingly close to passing legislation to extend sexual harassment protections to 300,000 more Texas workers. Currently only employees of workplaces with 15 or more employees can file workplace sexual harassment claims in Texas. SB 46 would have applied to the same standards to all workplaces. It was set on the House Calendar but narrowly missed a critical deadline and did not advance.
“Another half hour, and SB 46 would be law,” said Rep. Zwiener. “I’m disappointed that it didn’t pass, but I know that the work we did this session to build coalitions and move the bill forward unanimously will pay off next session.”
Rep. Zwiener expressed disappointment at the lack of work done on ensuring that every Texan can access affordable, high quality health care.
“Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the nation, and our rural hospitals are struggling to keep their doors open,” said Rep. Zwiener. “We need to expand Medicaid, bring our federal tax dollars back to Texas, cover another 1.5 million Texans, and drive down health care costs for everyone. It’s a shame that this common sense policy has been made needlessly partisan.”
Representative Zwiener flipped her seat in 2018 by running as a strong progressive who focused on addressing the issues that affect Texans’ everyday lives. As a working mom to her daughter Lark, she made history by being first legislator to breastfeed on the Texas House floor.
“I am proud of the work we did during the 86th Legislature,” said Rep. Zwiener. “Not only did my office pass bills that improved people’s quality of life, but we also started important conversations about rock quarries, natural gas pipelines, and helping communities grow responsibly I’m eager to continue working hard for the people of Texas and to tackle critical issues like health care, planning for climate change, and ensuring every Texan has access to the ballot box when I return to the Capitol in 2021.”