With the Texas 88th Legislative session proper across the nook, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick unveiled a listing of 21 legislative priorities, which embrace a big selection of topics, from tax reduction to frame safety. Then again, his colleague, Texas Home Speaker Dade Phelan has but to make public what’s on his agenda for the upcoming 12 months.
Patrick’s legislative priorities got here shortly after the Legislative Funds Board, a panel of lawmakers led by Patrick and Home Speaker Dade Phelan, voted to permit legislators to spend about $12.5 billion extra within the subsequent finances than the final cycle.
Patrick, as Lt. Gov., presides over the Senate and wields super energy over laws, and Phelan, as speaker of the Texas Home, helps resolve when and whether or not laws reaches the ground. He additionally appoints committee chairs, sometimes choosing members who agree with him on essential points, according to The Houston Chronicle.
It isn’t unusual for there to be regular tensions earlier than a legislative session on priorities between Patrick and Phelan. And regardless that Phelan has not laid out his legislative priorities, he has been vocal on a number of matters during which he differs from Patrick, together with training, election legal guidelines, and tax reduction.
Patrick, the Republican who oversees the Texas Senate, introduced in February that he desires to finish eligibility for tenure for all new hires at public universities, as reported by The Houston Chronicle.
This apply would grant professors job safety permitting them to embrace essential race concept, a tutorial motion that has turn out to be a boiling level in Texas politics. Final 12 months, the Republican-led Legislature accredited a measure that may ban the topic from Ok-12 colleges.
When requested about Patrick’s proposal, Phelan informed Texas Tribune journalist and CEO Evan Smith that he was open to altering sure elements of Texas’ tenure system however “respectfully disagrees” with vetoing all of it collectively.
“I can just tell you, in my time talking to folks at the University of Texas, they’ll tell you it’s hard to recruit conservative professors without tenure,” stated Phelan, a Republican from Beaumont.
On the subject of vouchers being a legislative precedence or not, each have been very obscure.
Patrick didn’t overtly embrace non-public faculty vouchers on his listing, however he did have “the need to empower parents by giving them a voice in their children’s education.” Many public faculty advocates really feel that this language might signal support for vouchers.
In the meantime, in September, Phelan appeared to solid severe doubt on the passage of a personal faculty voucher program within the Texas Home. Talking at a meeting of the annual Texas Tribune “Trib Fest”, Phelan said, “I haven’t seen a package put forth (for this upcoming legislative session) to say that’s a voucher, that’s not a voucher, but the pure voucher voter has always really failed.”
Since 1995 the Texas Home has been the chamber of the legislature that has persistently rejected vouchers. With strain on members, will Speaker Dade Phelan be capable of maintain the road that different audio system have held?
The 88th Legislative session anticipated a $27 billion finances surplus to spend on state tasks, and Patrick stated he would prioritize spending a few of that surplus on property tax reduction within the type of rising the homestead exemptions for householders.
Patrick stated half of the excess couldn’t be used for property tax reduction efforts -differing with Gov. Greg Abbott – with out breaking a constitutional spending cap set by the Legislative Funds Board.
To handle that, Patrick stated state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, would suggest a invoice this upcoming session that may permit lawmakers to save lots of more cash within the state’s wet day fund, as reported by The Texas Tribune.
In the meantime, at a lunch with the Transportation Advocacy Group-Houston Area, Phelan warned that the state is woefully behind on sustaining and increasing its infrastructure — from roads to broadband web — and can’t promise long-term tax reduction with a surplus that will not be there in two years.
“I guarantee you in 2025 there will not be a $30 billion surplus,” he informed TAG members, noting the state’s finances goes to develop merely due to inflation. “No one is considering what it is going to cost to run the government.”
Election Legal guidelines
Patrick additionally stated the state wanted to tighten its election legal guidelines once more. One in every of his important priorities was to make unlawful voting a felony once more – final 12 months it was downgraded from a second-degree felony to a Class A misdemeanor.
Patrick and Abbott have known as on lawmakers to reverse the change since final fall, calling for stiffer penalties for unlawful voting. Phelan, on the time, stated that it was “not time to re-litigate” the legislation known as Senate Bill 1. However he might be swayed to make the change throughout this 12 months’s Legislature.