North Texas Lawmakers Ready to Open 86th Legislative Session

The 86th Texas legislative session begins Tuesday and, for the first time in a decade, Joe Straus will not be the House Speaker.

Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Dist. 25), of Angleton, was first elected in 1996 and is expected to be elected as speaker.

“I am fully confident that Dennis is going to be an incredible leader for the Texas House of Representatives, and as we talked about before, ensuring that every single member, the most conservative Republican and the most liberal Democrat, is empowered to represent his or her district,” said Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Dist. 67), of Plano.

On the Senate side, there are two new North Texas lawmakers; Beverly Powell (D-Dist. 10) replaces Konni Burton in Colleyville, and Nathan Johnson (D-Dist. 16) will represent Dallas.

“My top priority is to be a productive state senator. As far as one single piece of legislation, I am not the kind of person who picks one thing and says that is the thing I am going to do. There is too much important work to be done in the senate for me to say that is my one thing. One thing that the legislature, as a whole, has pledged to do is fix the funding system for education and linked to it resolve our problem of rising property taxes,” said Johnson.

Veteran Sen. Royce West (D-Dist. 23), of Dallas, expects those priorities to be addressed.

“I think the priorities are going to be exactly what the leadership said they are going to be. Public school finance which I am all in favor of, I have worked on that commission. Property tax reductions, I think if we can do it in a responsible way, we need to do it,” said West.

Gov. Greg Abbott will speak to both the House and the Senate Tuesday when the legislature convenes at noon.

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