There have been 4,562 bills filed so far in the 88th Texas Legislature, and we are fast approaching the March 10 deadline for filing. The gears are moving as committee assignments have been made and bills are being referred to various committees.
We’d first like to thank you for your advocacy against Democrat committee chairs in the House. Though we had hoped Speaker Phelan would appoint no Democrats to chair a committee, he did reduce the number of Democrat chairs from 14 to 9. That is progress in the right direction and it wouldn’t have happened without your work. Lt. Governor Patrick only has one Democrat chair and has pledged that when that chairman leaves the Senate (expected to be this year), he will be replaced by a Republican. Lt. Gov. Patrick was a leader on this issue, taking over a Senate with 32% Democrat chairs and reducing the number to one before the GOP even made it a priority.
Governor Abbott announced his emergency items this month, which means bills related to these items can be voted on during the first 60 days of the session. Two of his emergency items include our Legislative Priorities, Education Freedom for all Texans and Securing the Border. Lt. Gov. Patrick has also released his priority list, which includes several of our priorities, especially those addressing safety of children.
Speaker Phelan announced his first four legislative priorities last week and they stand in stark contrast to the boldness of Abbott and Patrick. The border is open, inflation is hurting families, the left is targeting our children, crime is skyrocketing, and Speaker Phelan’s first four priorities were two bills pertaining to data privacy, expanding Medicaid, and removing the sales tax on women’s hygiene products. His next three priorities, announced this week, were a corporate welfare bill, one dealing with community colleges and the establishment of new business courts.
Overall, we are pleased with the bills filed for Legislative Priorities that protect Texas children. Banning Gender Modification of Children is picking up steam, and we are seeing bills that designate the medical mutilation of minors as child abuse, as well as ones that target the medical license of the doctor. We want to thank the Representatives and Senators who have filed these bills and look forward to working with them to get a bill to the Governor’s desk.
There have been many bills filed in both the House and Senate for Stop Sexualizing Texas Kids, and momentum is building to address the explicit library materials in our public schools. Our sub-committee chair for this priority, SREC Cristin Bentley from SD 1, is leading a campaign to help ensure all members of the Texas Legislature are fully informed about this problem.
To that end, at least one page of excerpts from an explicit book title found in Texas public schools is being provided to every legislator in the Texas Senate and House on each remaining day of the 88th Legislative Session. You can follow the hash tags #FilthyBooks and #StopSexualizingTexasKids on Twitter to see what material was sent that day.
One priority that we are concerned about is Secure the Border and Protect Texans. We only have three approved bills for this priority and expect only a few more to be filed. Despite this being an emergency item for the Governor, there does not appear to be much of an appetite among the Legislature to address this issue. Speaker Phelan has indicated he will be announcing something soon that will be an “innovative” solution. We look forward to this information.
We are also not seeing a great deal of activity to Protect Our Elections. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has listed Restoring Voter Fraud to a Felony as his second highest priority bill, and the Senate passed SB2 out of committee this week. We commend the Senate for their quick action and hope to see even more attention paid to this very important priority before bill filing ends. This priority was number one at the 2022 Republican Party of Texas, and came in the highest ranked among the March 2022 Primary Ballot Propositions.
We encourage you to reach out to your Representative and Senator with your expectations for this Legislative Session. To help you find the resources to do so, we have made a short video to walk you through our #txlege section of the Republican Party of Texas website. You can find that video here.
- Watch the video and know what legislation your elected officials are filing. Share this information with other Texas Republicans.
- Email or call their offices and encourage them to sign on to our Legislative Priority bills.
Finally, we wanted to let you know about an opportunity provided by our friends at North Texas Conservatives. They have charted busses to come to Austin every week to help you advocate in person at the State Capitol. More information can be found on their website: https://ntxconservatives.com/bus-trips/
For God and Texas,
SREC, SD 12
Chair, SREC Legislative Priorities Committee
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