Texas Legislative News

A large building with a dome on top of it.

88th Legislature

January 10, 2023 – May 29, 2023

As the 88th legislature enters the final stretch, the House and Senate both continue committee hearings and voting on bills to be debated on. In 2021 roughly 7,000 bills were filed but only 1,030 of those bills eventually passed. This legislature has filed nearly 10,000 bills out of which 1,589 have passed both he House and Senate. I will include a link below to view the report of all bills passed so far!

Let’s look at the bills passed and how many of those reflect our State GOP legislative agenda. 

In the House 

  1.  HB 900 – This bill prohibits sexually explicit books in Texas schools. (Stop Sexualizing Texas Kids – Priority #4)

In the Senate

  1. None

Bills being heard this week will focus on Election Integrity (Priority #1). Some of those bills include:

  • SB 2 – Restore Illegal Voting Felony Penalty (in House Elections)
  • HB 1243 – Restore Illegal Voting Felony Penalty (in House Elections)
  • SB 921 and Companion HB 3611 – Bans Ranked Choice Voting (both in House Elections)
  • SB 1070 and Companion HB 2809 – Interstate Cross-Check that removes Texas from ERIC (both in House Elections)
  • HB 5231 â€“ Eliminates countywide voting and returns voting back to precinct-based voting (in House Elections)

There are also two bills that looks very concerning and need action. 

  • HB 1635 – Pulls state funding from the Republican Party of Texas if we don’t follow the election law dictates of the Biden administration or RNC (Passed House and Sent to Senate)
  • HB 4636 – Gives County chairs power to appoint precinct chairs to vacant positions over the objection of a majority of their County Executive Committee (House Elections Hearing Completed and set as Pending Business)

The House has advanced $4.5 billion in school funding to include safety upgrades. HB 100, authored by Rep. Ken King, R-Canadian, would raise the basic allotment, which is the minimum money that schools get per student. That amount is currently $6,160; under King’s bill, it would increase to $6,250 in 2024 and at least $6,300 in 2025, when the state would also consider raising the allotment further to account for inflation.

HB 1804, authored by freshman state Rep. Terri Leo-Wilson, R-Galveston, would allow the State Board of Education to reject textbooks for students below ninth grade if they include content on sexual orientation, gender identity and sexual activity. Textbooks could also be rejected if they fail to present U.S. history in a positive light or “encourage lifestyles that deviate from generally accepted standards of society.â€

HB 2 proposed $12 billion for Texas school districts so they can lower property taxes for homes and businesses. According to Speaker Phelan office, the owner of a $350,000 home would save more than $1,000 over a two year period. 

Earlier this month the House approved a $302.6 billion state budget with property tax cuts and pay raises for teachers and state employees. The bill will now head to the Senate where lawmakers there have their own version of the spending plan. 

On the Senate side, SB 1029 would make physicians and health insurers financially liable for their patients’ lifetime medical, mental health and pharmaceutical costs resulting from complications of gender-affirming medical care even if the providers lack fault or criminal intent. The bill exempts such treatments for kids with “medically verifiable genetic sex disorders.â€

SB 147 was passed that restricts purchases of agricultural land, timberland and oil and gas rights by entities associated with any country that “poses a risk to the national security of the United States†as designated by three consecutive annual threat assessment analyses by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Remember to stay involved in these final days as history tells us that our voices will be critical with getting our agenda passed. 

Thank you,

Matthew Okerson