Friday, March 11, was the last time for members to file bills for the 82nd Legislative Session in Texas. During the last three legislative sessions, bills filed have ballooned from 5,400 to 7,400. However, in this session, the number of bills filed leveled back to approximately 5,600. What exactly does this mean?
Well, I’ve heard it said it was ironic that as soon as Republicans completely took control of government in Austin, the number of bills being filed began to increase, contrasting their message of smaller, limited government. This sounded very contradictory to me, but Republicans now hold more seats in the Texas legislature than ever and the number of bills filed has decreased significantly from the previous session.
In Texas, conservative governance is pretty straight forward and evident. Our founders only set up a legislative session that lasts for 140 days every 2 years, unlike the professional legislatures of other states or of the federal government. Likewise, I think it is safe to assume that most Texans prefer to see fewer bills filed. After all, our philosophy is that the less time legislators spend in Austin, the less harm they can do. Similarly, shouldn’t fewer bills filed mean less harm or intrusion?
The answer isn’t as cut and dry as one would think or hope. Not all legislators are bad, and not all bills are harmful. There are plenty of great limited government conservatives in Texas, and many of them have found their way to the state house where they can ensure the freedoms and liberties for which our forefathers fought so hard. Since I believe the majority of our state legislators are conservative people, I think it is safe to say the quantity of bills filed isn’t as important as the quality of those bills being filed.
Even though it is seemingly impossible to shift through and read all of the nearly 5,600 bills filed this session, based on those I have read or heard about, it is relatively safe to say the quality of legislation filed for the 82nd session is not only better than previous sessions, but has the best chance of actually being enacted! This is exciting news since liberals were able to stall and block major conservative initiatives, such as further protecting the unborn and ensuring fair and transparent elections in Texas during the past few sessions, but not this time. The time for conservatives really is now in Texas. The voters sent a clear mandate in November and it seems as if our elected officials heard it – not only were fewer bills filed, but these bills are better than in years past.