Legislative Priorities Become Clearer As Lt. Gov. Patrick Releases List Of 31 Top Bills

Txlege UpdateLt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced his top priorities for the 2021 Legislative Session on Monday, adding some clarity on what the remainder of the 87th Legislature will look like in the upper chamber.

“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.

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