Texas 86th Legislative Session

With the deadline for bill filing behind us, lawmakers this week largely focused on budgetary issues and considering legislation in committee. 7,281 bills were filed before the deadline this session, an increase of 627 over 2017. This week, the Senate passed SB 500, the supplemental appropriations bill, in part tapping the Rainy Day Fund to appropriate $6.6 billion for a range of priorities including Hurricane Harvey relief, Medicaid funding shortfalls, and school safety.

Ray Lopez wins runoff in HD-125. On Tuesday, Democrat Ray Lopez won the special election run-off to replace former State Representative Justin Rodriguez (D-San Antonio). Lopez, a former San Antonio city councilperson, won 58% of the vote to defeat Republican Fred Rangel, former State Republican Executive Committee member.

Lt. Gov. Announces Priority Legislation. On Monday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced the bills selected as his top priorities for the 2019 Legislative Session. “Today I am announcing 30 priority bills for the Texas Senate for the 2019 Legislative Session. Senate Bill 1, at the top of the list, is a conservative Texas budget that includes $800 million for border security, funding for property tax reform and an across-the-board teacher pay raise,” Patrick said. “Senate Bill 2 – property tax reform – is my top policy priority.”

  • SB 1 – State Budget by Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound)
  • SB 2 – Property Tax Reform by Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston)
  • SB 3 – Across-the-Board Pay Raise for Teachers by Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound)
  • SB 4 – School Finance Reform by Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood)
  • SB 5 – Increase the Homestead Exemption by Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston)
  • SB 6 – Disaster Response Act by Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham)
  • SB 7 – Flood Disaster Plan and Matching Fund by Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe)
  • SB 8 – Statewide Flood Plan by Charles Perry (R-Lubbock)
  • SB 9 – Enhance Election Security by Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola)
  • SB 10 – Student Targeted Mental Health by Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound)
  • SB 11 – School Safety by Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood)
  • SB 12 – Retired Teachers’ Security Act by Joan Huffman (R-Houston)
  • SB 13 – Ethics Reform by Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe)
  • SB 14 – Expand Rural Broadband by Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville)
  • SB 15 – Protecting Local Free Markets by Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe)
  • SB 16 – Police College Loan Forgiveness by Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills)
  • SB 17 – Protecting Religious Liberties by Charles Perry (R-Lubbock)
  • SB 18 – Protecting Campus Free Speech by Joan Huffman (R-Houston)
  • SB 19 – Protecting Second Amendment Rights by Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola)
  • SB 20 – Stop Human Trafficking by Joan Huffman (R-Houston)
  • SB 21 – Raise the Smoking Age to 21 by Joan Huffman (R-Houston)
  • SB 22 – Defund Abortion Providers by Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels)
  • SB 23 – Texas Born-Alive Infant Protection Act by Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham)
  • SB 24 – Alternatives to Abortion Information Act by Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville)
  • SB 25 – Higher Education Credit Transfer by Royce West (D-Dallas)
  • SB 26 – Honoring State Parks Commitment by Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham)
  • SB 27 – Stop Government Overreach by Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola)
  • SB 28 – Stop Frivolous Government Lawsuits by Joan Huffman (R-Houston)
  • SB 29 – Stop Taxpayer Funded Lobbying by Bob Hall (R-Edgewood)
  • SB 30 – Taxpayers Right to Know and Bond Transparency by Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury)

Supplemental Budget. On Tuesday, the Senate passed the supplemental budget, SB 500 by Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound). The bill would provide $6 billion in state funds for supplemental needs, including $4.3 billion out of the Economic Stabilization Fund. The bill also includes more than $3 billion for expenses related to Hurricane Harvey, $2 billion to address Medicaid shortfalls, and $100 million for school safety.

Board of Regents Appointments. On Thursday, Governor Greg Abbott appointed Duke Austin, Nicki Harle, Don Flores to the Board of Regents of the Texas State University System, and reappointed regent Charles Amato to another term. Duke Austin is president and CEO of Quanta Services, and a governor of the National Electrical Contractors Association. Nicki Harle is co-founder of Texas Midwest Community Network and past president of the Texas State University Alumni Association. Don Flores is owner of Flores Media Consulting and former president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and previously served as chairman of the Texas State University Chairman. Charles Amato of San Antonio is co-founder of Southwest Business Corporation and chairman of the Texas State University Foundation.

Governor Urges Universities to Evaluate Admissions. In the wake of a federal investigation that led to bribery charges against coaches and admissions officials at multiple universities, including at the University of Texas at Austin, Governor Abbott called on Texas universities to reevaluate their admissions processes. “As far as the University of Texas is concerned — but I will expand this to every university in the state of Texas — it’s important for every university to go back and re-evaluate, to study and to investigate, their admissions processes to make sure that nothing like this either is happening or can happen,” Abbott said Wednesday. “I expect all universities to look into this and make sure they have procedures and policies so that this type of action will never be able to happen again.”