On Thursday, Governor Greg Abbott delivered his biennial State of the State speech, outlining his highest priorities for the upcoming legislative session. His agenda centered on revealing seven emergency items for the 88th Legislative Session. These emergency items include issues that matter most for Texans. To address these issues, key pieces of legislation will be passed throughout this session.
“This session, we will ensure Texas remains the leader of this nation as an unflinching force in this world. Together, we will build a Texas for the next generation — the Texas of tomorrow.”
– Governor Greg Abbott
The seven emergency items named by the Governor are working towards the same goal that all lawmakers aspire to fulfill: to leave Texas better than we found it. To that end, these emergency items will tackle some of the most pressing issues that Texans currently face.
Emergency items include cutting property tax and permanently ending COVID-19 restrictions, which will provide an even better climate for businesses in our state and allow for greater economic prosperity. Public safety-oriented emergency items, such as school safety, ending revolving door bail, securing the border, and fighting the fentanyl crisis, will bring greater protection to our Texas communities.
Property Tax Relief
With the growing number of Texans being taxed out of their homes, there has never been a greater need for property tax relief. That’s why House Bill 1, the General Appropriations Bill, dedicates $15 billion towards the largest property tax cut in Texas history. Legislators are committed to delivering on cutting your property taxes and plan to take this a step further. The Texas House will introduce legislation that provides lasting property tax relief, so this affordability issue does not arise again.
Texans enjoy an incredible level of personal liberty, and the Texas House will rise to it. Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, it’s time for Texas to close the door on COVID-19 restrictions. Governor Abbott has tasked the Legislature with prohibiting county and local governments from imposing COVID-19 mask mandates, COVID-19 vaccine mandates, and from closing any business or school because of COVID-19.
All Texans have learned from COVID-19 that our society is not immune from health emergencies. To better prepare, we must change how the government responds to future pandemics. This is why legislation requiring the legislature to convene if another pandemic is ever declared is included as an emergency item.
The Texas House is invested in our Texas classrooms. We have provided more funding for public education and more funding for teacher pay raises than ever in the history of our state. This is because providing quality education to all Texas students is a critical role of our state government.
However, we must ensure that Texas schools are empowering parents – not pushing a woke agenda. It is past time we get back to the basics, and ensure our schools are for education, not indoctrination. That starts by bringing parents in on curriculum, what’s being taught in the classroom, and school library content.
The Texas House is continuing its commitment to increase safety standards on school campuses and provide greater mental health resources to schools. In the wake of recent mass violence tragedies, the Texas House will prioritize providing Texas schools with even more resources they can use to protect and secure students, faculty, and facilities.
Revolving Door Bail
Building off of bail reform legislation the Texas House passed during the 87th Legislative Session, Governor Abbott revealed his hope to spend this session passing laws that further restrict criminals from being let out on multiple felony bonds and hold judges accountable for allowing criminals to prematurely reintegrate into society. By shutting down “the revolving door,” Governor Abbott aims to reduce the crime rate in Texas and further protect our streets.
The Texas Legislature has stepped up to the challenge of securing our border and stopping the national security crisis. In its commitment to securing the border, the Texas House has proposed providing $4.6 billion for the border security effort. Beyond funding, Governor Abbott is also interested in policy solutions to eradicate the smuggling of illegal immigrants.
As of 2023, Fentanyl has become the leading killer of Americans between the ages of 18 and 45. To combat this, Gov. Abbott has proposed declaring fentanyl deaths as “poisonings'' by cartels and prosecuting them as murders. Additionally, he has recommended an increase in the supply of NARCAN, a medication used to reduce or reverse the effect of opioids, like fentanyl.
To learn more about the purpose of the State of the State address and the importance of the Governor’s emergency list check out our blog post “Gov. Abbott’s State of the State, What It Means for Legislature”. With three and a half more months before the 88th Legislative Session comes to a close, we are hopeful that these emergency items will lead to the Texas of Tomorrow.