Next week, from June 16-18, nearly 10,000 delegates will attend the Republican Party of Texas‘ biennial convention in Houston.
Part of their business will be selecting a group of around eight legislative priorities. These priorities are meant to be a directive to Republican lawmakers, expressing what the grassroots of the party would like to see accomplished during the upcoming 140-day legislative session.
But what happened to the last set of Republican legislative priorities?
Efforts were killed during the regular legislative session. Though an omnibus bill was finally passed during a special session in the summer of 2021, the new law actually decreases the penalty for illegal voting from a felony to a misdemeanor.
The Legislature passed a constitutional amendment to prevent places of worship from being closed during emergencies, in response to the shuttering of churches last year during COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Voters later approved the amendment, with the proposal receiving 62 percent of the vote statewide.
Child Gender Modification
Though the Texas Senate passed multiple pieces of legislation to outlaw the practice of gender modification procedures in minors, the Texas House led by Speaker Dade Phelan repeatedly killed those efforts.
Abolition of Abortion
While the Legislature did not pass a bill completely outlawing abortion, the recently enacted Heartbeat Act outlaws abortion when a fetal heartbeat can be detected—usually after six weeks, as well as a trigger bill to outlaw abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court.
The longest-running legislative priority of the Texas GOP, the Legislature passed a version of permitless carry this year, which allows law-abiding citizens ages 21 and up to carry a firearm without receiving a license to carry.
While the left has made moves to take down historical monuments on public property, with some proposals even threatening to alter the Alamo in San Antonio, the Legislature made no progress on protecting monuments in 2021.
Once a priority championed by Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, school choice legislation was largely ignored last year. During the debate of the budget, the House voted 115-29 to approve an amendment to stipulate that state funds “may not be used to pay for or support a school voucher, education savings account, or tax credit scholarship program or a similar program through which a child may use state money for nonpublic primary or secondary education.”
Ending the practice of local governments using tax dollars to lobby the Legislature (often against the interests of the taxpayers themselves) has long been a priority for conservatives. Legislation to ban the practice was killed on the House floor by State Rep. Chris Paddie, who procedurally postponed its consideration to the birthday of the legislation’s proponent, State Rep. Mayes Middleton.
This article originally appeared in the Texas Minute for Monday, June 6, 2022.