Continuing the quick pace he has taken in the Senate so far this legislative session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick unveiled the top 30 priorities he says are supported by “the conservative majority of Texans.”
Those priority initiatives include a number of conservative reforms touted by Patrick in the past, including school choice, ending tenure for college professors, and banning children’s exposure to “all-ages” drag shows.
While many of the Republican Party of Texas’ eight legislative priorities are mirrored in the Senate priorities, the list also includes issues Patrick had previously previewed, such as a teacher pay raise and a mandatory 10-year sentence for crimes committed with firearms.
Each session, the 31 members of the Texas Senate file thousands of bills. Some are duplicates because members often have similar priorities voiced to them by their constituents. The tradition has been for bill numbers 1 through 20 to indicate the Lt. Governor’s and the Senate’s priorities. In 2017, I increased the low bill numbers to 30. Senators like to get a low bill number because it shows their bill is also a priority of the Lt. Governor and has a great chance of passing. I believe Texans support our priorities because they largely reflect the policies supported by the conservative majority of Texans. Most will pass with bipartisan support.
This session I could have used 50 low bill numbers because there are so many issues that need to be addressed. Just because a bill does not make the priority list does not mean it is not a priority for me or the Senate. We will pass over 600 bills this session. As I like to say, every bill is a priority to someone, otherwise we would not pass it.
Patrick also cautioned that some additional priorities would be addressed in the state’s budget rather than in specific bills.
“One example is Texas border security funding. Since President Biden took office and implemented his open border policies, Texas has stepped into the breach. Texas should not have to use our tax dollars to do the federal government’s job, but it is vitally important that we maintain our law enforcement and National Guard presence. If we do not, the border crisis will get much worse,” said Patrick.
Republican Party of Texas Chairman Matt Rinaldi told Texas Scorecard the party is “excited to see Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick once again lead with a conservative agenda and looks forward to working with him, the Texas Senate, and House to pass conservative legislation that will improve the lives of Texans.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s Priority Bills:
- Senate Bill 1 – State Budget
- Senate Bill 2 – Restoring Voter Fraud to a Felony
- Senate Bill 3 – Increasing the Homestead Exemption to $70,000
- Senate Bill 4 – Adding Additional Property Tax Relief
- Senate Bill 5 – Increasing the Business Personal Property Tax Exemption
- Senate Bill 6 – Adding New Natural Gas Plants
- Senate Bill 7 – Continuing to Improve the Texas Grid
- Senate Bill 8 – Empowering Parental Rights – Including School Choice
- Senate Bill 9 – Empowering Teacher Rights – Teacher Pay Raise
- Senate Bill 10 – Adding 13th Checks for Retired Teachers
- Senate Bill 11 – Keeping Our Schools Safe and Secure
- Senate Bill 12 – Banning Children’s Exposure to Drag Shows
- Senate Bill 13 – Protecting Children from Obscene Books in Libraries
- Senate Bill 14 – Ending Child Gender Modification
- Senate Bill 15 – Protecting Women’s College Sports
- Senate Bill 16 – Banning Critical Race Theory (CRT) in Higher Education
- Senate Bill 17 – Banning Discriminatory “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” (DEI) Policies in Higher Education
- Senate Bill 18 – Eliminating Tenure at General Academic Institutions
- Senate Bill 19 – Creating A New Higher Education Endowment Fund
- Senate Bill 20 – Removing District Attorneys Who Refuse to Follow Texas Law
- Senate Bill 21 – Removing Judges Who Refuse to Follow Texas Law
- Senate Bill 22 – Assisting Rural Law Enforcement Funding – Increasing Pay and Needed Equipment
- Senate Bill 23 – Creating A Mandatory 10-Year Prison Sentence for Criminals Committing Gun Crime
- Senate Bill 24 – Expanding Alternatives to Abortion
- Senate Bill 25 – Creating New Scholarships for Registered Nurses
- Senate Bill 26 – Expanding Mental Health Care Beds Across Texas – Focus on Rural Counties
- Senate Bill 27 – Creating A New Business Specialty Court
- Senate Bill 28 – Addressing Texas’ Future Water Needs
- Senate Bill 29 – Banning Local COVID-19 Mandates
- Senate Bill 30 – Supplemental Budget
With 105 days left in the 140-day regular legislative session, Patrick has publicly stated he and the Senate will move expeditiously to pass priority legislation.
However, both the House and Senate are barred constitutionally from passing bills within the first 60 days of the session unless they are deemed priorities by the governor. Gov. Greg Abbott is currently slated to hold his State of the State address—where he will announce his emergency priorities—on Thursday, February 16.