Republican Primary Election Season Already Heating Up
- Texas attorney general candidates include current Attorney General Ken Paxton (R); current TX Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who announced almost two weeks ago; and it is rumored that former TX Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, who recently resigned her position on the Supreme Court, will announce soon.
- Texas land commissioner candidates include San Antonio-based businessman and Republican activist Weston Martinez; State Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R–Lakeway), who announced her candidacy last week; and Dr. Jon Spiers, who was a former congressional candidate.
- Former Austin City Councilwoman Ellen Troxclair announced her candidacy to replace State Sen. Dawn Buckingham for Senate District 24 last week.
- Current State Rep. James White (R–Hillister) announced that he would not seek re-election but also indicated he intends to run for statewide office, without specifically saying which office that might be.
Information on Upcoming Special Legislative Sessions
- No update on potential dates/subjects.
- Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced a Senate committee chairman shuffle, appointing four new chairmen of four committees (Senate Committees on Nominations, Administration, Veterans & Border Security, and Business & Commerce) and expanded the jurisdiction of the Senate Jurisprudence Committee to include pension and insurance issues.
Border Security Summit
- Held in Del Rio, TX, and composed of border region elected officials, law enforcement officials, county and district attorneys, and landowners.
- Gov. Greg Abbott announced several new border security efforts, including the completion/construction of a TX border wall, a newly found Governor’s Task Force on Border and Homeland Security, enhancing an ongoing disaster declaration, and the use of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact in conjunction with AZ Gov. Doug Ducey (R) to call on other states to help provide personnel and logistical support in ongoing border security efforts.
- Notably, border security was not an emergency legislative priority during the 87th Legislative Session, even though President Biden was sworn in on January 20. Bills relating to things Abbott announced were never even considered, like a bill by State Sen. Bob Hall (R–Edgewood) that would have authorized the governor to coordinate and develop an interstate compact for joint action on border security and enforce federal regulations. Another bill by State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R–Royse City) would have created the framework for the funding of border security enhancements, including a wall on the Texas-Mexico border. It would have required that the governor obtain reimbursement from the federal government for all expenses.
- Texas Scorecard personnel recently visited the border. Here is a summary of what they witnessed.
Status of Legislative Priorities Awaiting Gov. Abbott’s Consideration (Reference)
- His own “emergency” legislative priorities like HB 5 (the regulatory framework for broadband expansion to rural and underserved communities in the state) or SB 6 (which would provide business “liability protections” from frivolous lawsuits related to a pandemic like COVID-19).
- Overall state budget for the next biennium (FY22-23)
- Star-Spangled Banner Protection Act (SB 4)
- Oil & gas investment protections (SB 13)
- Phase I of the TX Consumer Privacy Act (SB 15)
- Several Second Amendment protection bills, including constitutional carry (HB 1927)
- First Responders Pandemic Care Act (SB 22)
- Various religious freedom “protection” bills
- Omnibus telemedicine/telehealth (HB 4)
- Healthcare legislative priorities of House Speaker Dade Phelan’s, like expanding Medicaid eligibility for postpartum mothers (HB 133)
- Criminal justice reform legislative priorities of House Speaker Dade Phelan’s, like removing arbitrary barriers to probation (HB 385) or eliminating financial barriers to re-entry from prison (HB 569)
“Autopsy” Reports for 87th Legislative Session Here