“Since the Texas Legislature adjourned in 2019, Texas has faced some of the greatest challenges in our history,” Patrick said in a press release. “In fact, several of my priority bills changed in the last few days in response to issues that emerged from the winter storm last week. I have also prioritized legislation that reflects the principles and values of the Texas conservative majority. I am confident these priorities address issues that are critical to Texans at this time.”
Many of the items complement Gov. Greg Abbott‘s priorities — which in turn reinforce efforts already taking place in the Legislature. Aligned priorities include, but are not limited to, electric grid security (SB 2 and 3), protection from runaway COVID-19 litigation (SB 6), election integrity (SB 7), recognizance bail reform (SB 21), and ensuring local law enforcement remains funded (SB 23).
Speaker Dade Phelan has not yet released his priorities.
There is 19 days left before the bill-filing deadline in the Texas Legislature, and bills have not yet been referred to committees. As is common, lower-number bills and the common priorities between “the Big 3” (Speaker, Lieutenant Governor, and Governor) are likely to pass earlier and with less in the way of opposition.
As far as Patrick’s picks go, he continued, the list is not comprehensive of his support. He continued:
“… There are other bills that also have my strong support including the Medical Compensation Transparency Act (paid or incurred) and additional legislation to stop human trafficking. I also support the legislative proposal to review statewide health data in light of the pandemic and proposed legislation that will speed the recovery of the restaurant industry, including maintaining ‘liquor-to-go.’
“I support the priorities laid out by Governor Greg Abbott as well as other legislation to make sure the Texas economy continues to come back stronger than ever following the pandemic. I will be working to make sure this legislation passes and that we do all that we can to make our state, our cities and all our communities safe and secure going forward.”
Lt. Gov. Patrick’s priority bills are below (listed by number, not necessarily in order of priority).
Senate Bill 1: Budget
Senate Bill 2: ERCOT Reform
Senate Bill 3: Power Grid Stability
Senate Bill 4: Star Spangled Banner Protection Act
Senate Bill 5: Statewide Broadband Access
Senate Bill 6: Pandemic Liability Protection Act
Senate Bill 7: Election and Ballot Security
Senate Bill 8: The Heartbeat Bill
Senate Bill 9: Abortion Ban Trigger
Senate Bill 10: Stop Taxpayer Funded Lobbying
Senate Bill 11: Appellate Court Reorganization
Senate Bill 12: Protect Free Speech on Social Media
Senate Bill 13: Oil and Gas Investment Protection
Senate Bill 14: Business Freedom and Uniformity Act
Senate Bill 15: Ban Sale of Personal Data from Certain State Agencies
Senate Bill 16: Protect State-held Personal Data
Senate Bill 17: Protect Texas Trucking
Senate Bill 18: Protect Second Amendment Businesses
Senate Bill 19: Stop Corporate Gun Boycotts
Senate Bill 20: Second Amendment Protections for Travelers
Senate Bill 21: Bail Reform
Senate Bill 22: First Responders Pandemic Care Act
Senate Bill 23: Stop Local Police Defunding
Senate Bill 24: Law Enforcement Transparency Act
Senate Bill 25: Family Nursing Home Visitation Rights
Senate Bill 26: Protect Freedom to Worship
Senate Bill 27: Expanding Virtual Learning Options
Senate Bill 28: Charter School Equity Act
Senate Bill 29: Fair Sports for Women and Girls
Senate Bill 30: Remove Racist Restrictions from Real Estate Deeds
Senate Bill 31: Senate Redistricting Act
From the hip: It’s a conservative list for sure, but missing are several legislative priorities passed by Republican delegates over the summer. Election integrity, taxpayer lobbying ban, religious freedom, and school choice made the list, but missing are a ban on gender modification of minors, historic monument protections, and constitutional carry.
The priorities we see are not too different than previous sessions in recent memory, though a new Speaker and shake-ups on several committees adds some new dynamics to the mix. Phelan’s priorities should fine-tune the picture even further.