Republicans Reflect on a Successful Session

(Austin, Texas) Republicans in the Texas House delivered one conservative victory after another in the 84th Legislature by cutting taxes, making the border region safer, improving education, funding transportation, protecting life and defending Second Amendment rights.

House Republicans also continued to keep Texas on strong fiscal ground by passing a state budget that keeps growth beneath 2 percent per year. The budget, House Bill 1, grows less than population and inflation, it stays well beneath the constitutional spending cap and it leaves more than $11 billion in the state’s Rainy Day Fund. Even as it limits spending, however, the budget provides additional funding for education, border security, transportation and child protection.

“Conservatives had a great session,” said Rep. Tan Parker of Flower Mound, the Chairman of the House Republican Caucus. “We delivered on tax relief, border security, the Second Amendment and many other key issues. Conservative Republicans can and should be proud of this record.”

With a budget surplus provided by the success of the private sector, House Republicans worked throughout the session to deliver tax relief. Those efforts paid off as the Legislature approved nearly $4 billion in tax relief: a 25 percent reduction in the business margins tax, as well as a $10,000 increase in the homestead exemption, which will provide relief for homeowners.

The House demonstrated its commitment to border security early in the session by passing House Bills 10 and 11. House Bill 10 takes new steps to fight and eliminate human trafficking. House Bill 11 provides hundreds of new state troopers along the Texas-Mexico border while strengthening efforts to fight and prosecute border-related crimes. In addition, the budget provides a historic amount of funding – more than $800 million – for border security.

The Texas population and economy are growing rapidly, straining roads and highways. House Republicans addressed transportation this session without raising taxes, fees or tolls. Thanks to the leadership of Republican House Speaker Joe Straus, the budget ends diversions of the State Highway Fund, meaning all of the money in that fund will pay for transportation instead of other programs. That change increased transportation funding by $1.3 billion over two years. House Republicans also supported Senate Joint Resolution 5, a proposed constitutional amendment that would dedicate at least $2.5 billion of state sales tax revenue to transportation every two years. Finally, House Republicans took the lead in making the Texas Department of Transportation more transparent and accountable by supporting House Bill 20.

The Legislature has repeatedly defended the rights of the unborn in recent years and continued to do so in this year’s session. House Republicans passed critical pro-life bills, further defunded Planned Parenthood and expanded funding for alternatives to abortion. House Bill 3994 reforms the judicial bypass process for minors seeking abortions. These reforms will protect and strengthen parents’ rights while also increasing oversight of the bypass process. The House also passed House Bill 3374, which requires a medical provider to furnish information about treatment options and resources for Down syndrome to new or expectant parents following a Down syndrome diagnosis. House Bill 3074, another crucial bill passed by the House, addresses end of life issues and requires artificial hydration and nutrition to be provided to patients in the natural process of death.

House Republicans also achieved two long-sought Second Amendment priorities this session with the passage of House Bill 910, which allows for the licensed open carry of handguns, and Senate Bill 11, which will expand the rights of Concealed Handgun License holders to possess their guns on college campuses. In addition, House Republicans provided the leadership needed to pass Senate Bill 2065, which protects pastors from lawsuits or criminal prosecution if they refuse to perform marriages that violate their sincerely held religious beliefs. House Republicans also passed a number of bills providing needed services to Texas veterans.

“The House began the session with a conservative agenda and ends the session with a conservative record of accomplishment,” Chairman Parker said. “Our work this session will create growth in the private sector while defending and expanding critical rights for the people of Texas. House Republicans have delivered the results we were sent here to achieve.”