On Monday evening, Gov. Greg Abbott released his legislative priorities during his State of the State address.
But how do they compare to the Republican Party of Texas’ legislative priorities?
The priorities approved by delegates to the party’s convention last year include enhancing election security, protecting religious freedom, preventing child gender modification, abolishing abortion, enacting constitutional carry, promoting school choice, protecting monuments, and banning taxpayer-funded lobbying.
Though Abbott mentioned he would like to see legislation to prevent discriminatory abortions and prevent local governments from closing churches, those items were not given priority status.
Instead, Abbott listed expanding rural broadband access, preventing cities from defunding police, bail reform, election integrity, and protecting businesses from COVID-related lawsuits as his top concerns.
Of those five items, only election integrity is among the Texas GOP’s priorities.
“While we are encouraged that Governor Abbott has recognized election integrity as one of his emergency orders, as that is our No. 1 priority as a party, and we appreciate that he mentioned he wants a law to ‘ensure that the life of every child will be spared from the ravages of abortion,’ our priority on abortion is clear that it should be abolished,” Jill Glover, the chair of the party’s legislative priorities committee, told Texas Scorecard.
“Governor Abbott also addressed the closing of churches during the pandemic and rightly called for a law that would prohibit any government entity from shutting down religious activity in Texas, and while we applaud this step, our priority reads: ‘Restore the rights of individuals, organizations and businesses, to exercise their sincerely held religious beliefs by prohibiting local ordinances, state laws, or executive orders that violate those rights.’ This is broader than just not closing churches,” she added.
Glover defended the party’s priorities, saying Republican voters indicated at the ballot box that these priorities should be addressed by the Legislature, referring to Republican wins in November and continued GOP control of both chambers of the state Legislature.
“We hope the governor will listen to the Republican voters and clearly support this conservative agenda, as that is what people expect when placing our party in the majority.”