Today, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced his priorities for the 87th Legislative Session. Those priorities include:
- Senate Bill 1: The State Budget
- Senate Bill 2: ERCOT Reform
- Senate Bill 3: Power Grid Stability
- Senate Bill 4: Star Spangled Banner Protection Act
- Senate Bill 5: Statewide Broadband Access
- Senate Bill 6: Pandemic Liability Protection Act
- Senate Bill 7: Election & Ballot Security
- Senate Bill 8: The Heartbeat Bill
- Senate Bill 9: Abortion Ban Trigger
- Senate Bill 10: Stop Taxpayer Funded Lobbying
- Senate Bill 11: Appellate Court Reorganization
- Senate Bill 12: Protect Free Speech on Social Media
- Senate Bill 13: Oil & Gas Investment Protection
- Senate Bill 14: Business Freedom and Uniformity Act
- Senate Bill 15: Ban Sale of Personal Data from Certain State Agencies
- Senate Bill 16: Protect State-held Personal Data
- Senate Bill 17: Protect Texas Trucking
- Senate Bill 18: Protect Second Amendment Businesses
- Senate Bill 19: Stop Corporate Gun Boycotts
- Senate Bill 20: Second Amendment Protections for Travelers
- Senate Bill 21: Bail Reform
- Senate Bill 22: First Responders Pandemic Care Act
- Senate Bill 23: Stop Local Police Defunding
- Senate Bill 24: Law Enforcement Transparency Act
- Senate Bill 25: Family Nursing Home Visitation Rights
- Senate Bill 26: Protect Our Freedom to Worship
- Senate Bill 27: Expanding Virtual Learning Options
- Senate Bill 28: Charter School Equity Act
- Senate Bill 29: Fair Sports for Women & Girls
- Senate Bill 30: Remove Racist Restrictions from Real Estate Deeds
- Senate Bill 31: Senate Redistricting Act
In a press release, Patrick said, “These priorities address issues that are critical to Texans.”
Notably, many of his priorities run parallel to priorities deemed emergency items by Gov. Greg Abbott during both his recent State of the State address as well as those added thereafter as a result of the recent severe winter weather that affected every county in the state.
The first priority of Abbott’s was increased statewide broadband access, and it has taken the form of Senate Bill 5.
Other governor emergency items that made Patrick’s prioritized list include preventing the local defunding of police (Senate Bill 23), bail reform (Senate Bill 21), election integrity (Senate Bill 7), liability protection from COVID-related lawsuits (Senate Bill 6), ERCOT reform (Senate Bill 2), and power grid security (Senate Bill 3).
Patrick went on to say, “I support the priorities laid out by Gov. Greg Abbott as well as other legislation to make sure the Texas economy continues to come back stronger than ever following the pandemic. I will be working to make sure the legislation passes and that we do all that we can to make our state, our cities, and all our communities safe and secure going forward.”
Only some of Patrick’s priorities correlate with the legislative priorities of his own political party. Notably absent are Republican Party of Texas legislative priorities related to constitutional carry, monument protection, school choice for all, and any curtailment of emergency powers of both the governor and local jurisdictions.
In the Legislature, lower bill numbers are reserved for the priorities of the lieutenant governor and speaker of the House. As of now, the speaker of the House has not publicly shared his priorities for the ongoing session.
One easy way to read between the lines, however, is to see which bills start moving through the legislative process. With fewer than 100 days left in the legislative session and fewer than 20 days left before the bill filing deadline, bills should start getting referred to committees soon. Bills that are related to the governor’s emergency items are given special treatment by the legislative calendar and are allowed to be considered earlier than other legislation.
With such little public support given to them so far from the state’s key Republican leaders, it remains to be seen whether the majority of Texas GOP priorities will even be considered.