As lawmakers were busy filing legislation for the 85th Session of the Texas Legislature, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick identified the areas for reform that he would like to see reformed when the body returns in January.
“Starting in 2017, we will have a friend in the White House who was clearly elected because the people of this country believe in the conservative principles that have guided the way we govern in Texas—life, liberty, and lean government that promotes prosperity,” said Patrick. “I remain committed to those principles and the legislative priorities I am announcing today all reflect that commitment.”
As the lieutenant governor, Patrick largely controls the Texas Senate agenda and has used his significant clout to shepherd conservative reforms through the legislature. Last session, Patrick forced and won major fights with the Texas House to provide property tax relief, reduce the franchise tax, and fund border security measures.
Patrick’s priorities are as follows:
- 2017 Budget Proposal – the FY 18-19 Budget Estimate is not yet available, but we will pass a balanced budget that will strengthen the Texas economy and assure that it retains its global competitiveness.
- Property Tax Reform – Texans pay the sixth highest property taxes in the nation and the high rates are taxing people out of their homes and hampering business growth. This must change.
- School Choice – There is broad support for legislation to ensure that every parent has the option to send their child to the school they believe is best for them.
- Sanctuary Cities – No city in Texas should be allowed to ignore the law. We will end this practice once and for all this session.
- Photo Voter ID – Nothing is more critical to our democracy than the integrity of the voting process. Photo Voter ID is essential.
- Women’s Privacy Act – A majority of Texans in both political parties and in every ethnic and demographic group believe that women and girls should have privacy and safety in their restrooms, showers and locker rooms. Unfortunately, legislation is necessary to assure that they do.
- Inappropriate Teacher-Student Relationships – “Pass the Trash” – With the rapid increase in the number of inappropriate teacher-student relationships, legislation is needed to strengthen the reporting and training requirements, and establish appropriate penalties. Priority must be given to protecting our students at every level of the school system.
- Fetal Tissue/Partial Birth Abortion – We will continue to fight to protect the dignity and sanctity of life by increasing criminal penalties for buying or selling human fetal tissue, among other protections, and we will ban partial birth abortion in Texas.
- Spending Cap – We will continue to fight to strengthen the state spending limit so our government lives within its means.
- Hailstorm Lawsuit Reform – We will rein in the hailstorm lawsuit abuse that is damaging local economies around our state.
Texas Scorecard covered the issues here.
While the list is far from comprehensive, Patrick has noted that he will also be pushing other high priority items of legislation including reducing of the hand-gun licensing fee, ethics reform, CPS reforms, tuition reforms, continuing to reduce the state franchise tax, and prohibiting the government collection of union dues.
The listing stands in bold contrast to the liberal policy priorities of House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) who will likely lead the effort to needlessly water down reforms to appease Democrats.