It will be months before the gavel falls on the Texas Senate, but lawmakers have more than 30 items to look at in the next nine months. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has laid out his priorities for the interim.
TX Sen. Nathan Johnson (D-Dallas) said he's in favor of exploring ways to lower health care and higher education costs, but he is concerned about some of the items on the Lt. Governor’s agenda.
“Collectively, we all had to feel a sense of urgency right now on how we accommodate 1,100 people a day moving to the state, so I was pleased to see that we have some charges that relate to the serious work. I was not pleased to see that we have a lot of partisan signaling, a lot of charges dealing with non-existent social problems,” said Johnson.
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The list includes border security, more strengthening of the power grid and there are items on education.
Patrick also instructed Senators to examine how illegal temporary license plates have become involved in violent crimes, human smuggling, and drug trafficking. Patrick has directed the Senate’s Criminal Justice Committee to take up the issue between now and the start of the next legislative session in 2023.
There are also items on parental rights and clarifying library book standards. The charges include looking at how to spend federal COVID-relief funds. There's a call to get Texans property tax relief. TX Sen. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) said he's pleased to see property tax relief getting some attention.
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“I am excited to see that broadband is on there. It is critical that our kids have access to that. We are spending three billion dollars to secure the border. We are going to review that and make sure that it's going the way we intended to,” said Springer, adding “Business and commerce is going to hear about the electric grid and the changes we made, to make sure that it is reliable going forward.”
Lawmakers have until the end of the year to come up with recommendations ahead of the 2023 session.