Conservative firebrand Dan Patrick has released his list of priority legislation he believes the Texas Senate must pass. Now, citizens are getting to work reviewing the lieutenant governor’s mixed bag of proposals.
“Liberals and the left-wing will be fighting against these priority bills every day,” said Patrick in an email to supporters this past weekend. “Since the Texas Capitol is in Austin, they have an easy time mobilizing big crowds of opponents who make a lot of noise. Don’t let them drown out the truth – that the conservative majority of Texas wants our state to stand strong.”
That claim might stretch credibility.
First, a large number of these priorities aren’t really priorities at all. Property tax reform, disaster relief, and some of the pro-life legislation—sure; but grassroots Republican voters aren’t exactly chomping at the bit for legislation to expand broadband in rural areas or raise the smoking age.
Second, the majority of the items on Patrick’s list are expected to pass with bipartisan support. A number of them are authored by Democrats and a majority of them already have Democrat coauthors.
And that’s perhaps an indicator. As one activist told Texas Scorecard, “If these bills were as good as the lieutenant governor claims, wouldn’t Democrats be lining up to oppose them?”
A fair criticism, especially when there are a lot of things conservatives have been asking for—and that Patrick has even prioritized in the past—that are missing from this list.
Ending the automatic collection of labor union dues and preventing an estimated $25 million a campaign cycle from heading to Democrat campaign coffers? A priority in Patrick’s earlier two sessions, but not this one.
Reducing the franchise tax? Ending the tax on university tuition? Freezing tuition rates? All were priorities of Patrick’s last session, but apparently not this time. In their place is “police college loan forgiveness” and “honoring our state parks.”
To be clear, there are a number of items conservatives should be excited about—protecting free speech on university campuses, serious election integrity efforts, and ending taxpayer-funded lobbying are all positive reforms.
But it is frustrating that it appears conservative reform is now being rationed in the upper chamber of the Texas Legislature. That’s something completely foreign to taxpayers since Patrick took charge of the Texas Senate … and more akin to what they lived under during David Dewhurst’s tenure as lieutenant governor.
Texans remember rejecting Dewhurst in 2014 and voting for Patrick’s unabashed vision of putting conservatism into practice.
Patrick’s priority list in full may be viewed here:
- SB 1 – State Budget – State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound
- SB 2 – Property Tax Reform – Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston
- SB 3 – Across-the-Board Pay Raise for Teachers – Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound
- SB 4 – School Finance Reform – Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood
- SB 5 – Increase the Homestead Exemption – Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston
- SB 6 – Disaster Response Act – Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham
- SB 7 – Flood Disaster Plan – Matching Fund – Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe
- SB 8 – Statewide Flood Plan – Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock
- SB 9 – Enhance Election Security – Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola
- SB 10 – Student Targeted Mental Health – Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound
- SB 11 – School Safety – Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood
- SB 12 – Retired Teachers’ Security Act – Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston
- SB 13 – Ethics Reform – Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe
- SB 14 – Expand Rural Broadband – Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville
- SB 15 – Protecting Local Free Markets – Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe
- SB 16 – Police College Loan Forgiveness – Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills
- SB 17 – Protecting Religious Liberties – Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock
- SB 18 – Protecting Campus Free Speech – Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston
- SB 19 – Protecting Second Amendment Rights – Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola
- SB 20 – Stop Human Trafficking – Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston
- SB 21 – Raise the Smoking Age 21 – Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston
- SB 22 – Defund Abortion Providers – Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels
- SB 23 – Texas Born-Alive Infant Protection Act – Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham
- SB 24 – Alternatives to Abortion Information Act – Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville
- SB 25 – Higher Education Credit Transfer – Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas
- SB 26 – Honoring State Parks Commitment – Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham
- SB 27 – Stop Government Overreach – Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola
- SB 28 – Stop Frivolous Government Lawsuits – Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston
- SB 29 – Stop Taxpayer Funded Lobbying – Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood
- SB 30 – Taxpayers Right to Know – Bond Transparency – Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury