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Texas Legislature to Begin 86th Legislative Session with 900 Bills Already on Deck

This blog is my last for 2018; 2019 is merely days away, and federal government is shut down. Not so for Texas, where the Legislature is gearing up for a busy session.

In one of my previous blogs prior to election day, I wrote about Texas property taxes, the re-election of Governor Greg Abbott, and the upcoming 86th Texas Legislative Session. On election day 2018, Texas voters made a statement, and some counties changed from red to blue. Shortly after the election, on November 12, 2018, Texas legislators and legislators-elect began filing bills for the 86th Legislature.[1] As of this writing on December 28, 2018, there are more than 900 bills filed.

In the House, Terry Canales (40th District) Edinburgh, Hidalgo County, has filed the greatest number of bills: 40. In the Senate, Jose Rodriguez (29th District) El Paso, has filed the greatest: 60.[2] Right now, the most viewed and most monitored bills involve the authorization for the use, distribution, transportation, licensing of dispensaries for medical marijuana. This is followed by the Texas Constitutional Carry Act of 2019 regarding handguns, and a bill to exempt Texas from following the Daylight Savings Act.

It is too soon to tell what topics will be the hot-buttons of the 86th legislature but you can judge for yourself by viewing this fantastic map I found that shows what party sponsors the bill and what county the sponsor originates from. Surely, the counties with the largest populations will have elected officials that have filed bills that represent the concerns and interests of a larger population, right?

Perhaps, but the top filers or sponsors mentioned above do not come from the most populated areas of our state. The Texas representatives and senators you voted for will return to work on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. Have they sponsored and filed bills you think are indicative of the priorities of our state and its citizens? Hopefully, the 900 bills reflect the will of Texas voters.

On January 15, 2019, Governor Abbott will be inaugurated (again), and the deadline for the unrestricted filing of bills and joint resolutions other than local bills, emergency appropriations, and emergency matters submitted by the governor is March 8, 2019. There is still time to be heard and be a part of the process. Call, email or visit the local office of your elected Representative or Senator if your concern is not found in the 900 filed bills.

Put our elected officials to work and convince them to fulfill voter expectations and do the job they are sent to Austin to do. The absolute last day the Texas Governor may sign, or veto bills passed during the regular session is Sunday, June 16, 2019 (20th day following final adjournment of 86th Legislature, Regular Session).[3]

This is six months after inauguration day; we all know a lot can happen in that time. All Texans should decide if our elected officials are speaking and working for us. Please visit the Texas website “Who represents me?” and identify your elected officials and at least follow their progress in the coming weeks. Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best: “The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressman and government officials but the voters of this country.”

[1] (House Rule 8, Sec. 7; Senate Rule 7.04(a))

[2] https://legiscan.com/TX

[3] (Sec. 14, Art. IV, Texas Constitution)

Please do not rely on this article as legal advice. We can tell you what the law is, but until we know the facts of your given situation, we cannot provide legal guidance. This website is for informational purposes and not for the purposes of providing legal advice. Information about our municipal law practice can be found here.

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