With Texas’ first special legislative session underway, House lawmakers have started filing measures in response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s priorities.

At the close of the 88th regular legislative session, Abbott called a special session to focus on border security and property tax relief.

“Many critical items remain that must be passed. Several special sessions will be required. To ensure that each priority receives the time and attention it deserves to pass into law, only a few will be added each session,” said Abbott, indicating that multiple special sessions will be required.

Special Session #1 agenda items include:

  • Property Taxes: Legislation to cut property-tax rates solely by reducing the school district maximum compressed tax rate in order to provide lasting property-tax relief for Texas taxpayers.
  • Border Security: Legislation solely for the purpose of increasing or enhancing the penalties for certain criminal conduct involving the smuggling of persons or the operation of a stash house.

State Rep. Brian Harrison (R–Midlothian) said Abbott was “right” to call lawmakers back with new priorities.

“The Texas Legislature failed the people of Texas by not passing numerous conservative priorities, including property tax relief and border security,” said Harrison. “Gov. Abbott is right to call us back immediately. However, we must resist the temptation to simply pass bills containing those words in their titles and enact bold reforms like the ones l’m re-filing today.”

Harrison filed several measures addressing both border security and property tax relief.

The “Texas Title 42 Act,” Harrison’s House Bill 14, is a state version of Title 42, which was a public health order that allowed customs officials to send illegal aliens from “COVID-19 impacted” areas back across the border without processing them through the federal court system.

Harrison also proposed legislation to lower Texans’ property taxes.

House Joint Resolution 2 would prohibit political subdivisions from imposing property taxes on citizens after January 1, 2029.

House Bill 15 would require elections involving property tax increases to receive more than 60 percent of the votes to pass, while House Bill 16 calls for an interim study committee to determine how a sales tax could replace local property tax revenue.

Harrison’s last measure, House Bill 17, would require voters to approve any property tax increase from local governments and provide “much needed transparency to the property tax system and [ensure] that taxpayers are given a voice when local elected officials attempt to take more of their money.”

State Rep. Briscoe Cain (R–Deer Park) also filed legislation to lower property taxes. He filed House Bill 5 this week, which would dedicate 90 percent of Texas’ surplus funds to buying down school district maintenance and operations ad valorem taxes.

Cain’s bill would eventually eliminate school district maintenance and operations taxes in Texas.

The Texas Legislature has 30 days to accomplish Abbott’s priorities.

Katy Marshall

Katy graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.