Are you ready to Rally?
Are you ready to Rally?
Are you ready to RALLY?
Join us and 1,200 of our closest friends in Austin,
on Monday, February 27, 2023!

9:30 Adult & Student Caucuses
11:30 Rally on the South Steps
12:00 Visit with your Legislators

Committees announced for the 88th Legislative Session 

The Senate typically appoints committees first, and the House usually follows, and that’s how it’s happened this session.  The Lt. Governor released his committee picks on January 23, and the Speaker of the House told House members where they would be working this session on February 15.

Most committees have yet to meet, although the Senate Finance committee has been meeting for the last two weeks. House Appropriations met for the first time this week. Most other committees will start having hearings in the third week of February.

Of interest to Texas PTA, the Senate Education Committee will be helmed by Senator Brandon Creighton of Conroe, and Senator Donna Campbell of New Braunfels is vice chair. In the House, the Public Education committee has new leadership this session, with Rep. Brad Buckley of Salado serving as chair, and Rep. Alma Allen of Houston as vice chair. Rep. Buckley is a former Killeen ISD School Board trustee, and Rep. Allen is a former teacher and principal in Houston ISD.

State Budget bills filed in House and Senate

The House version of the budget is HB 1, and the Senate version is SB 1. Later in the session, they will be combined into one version that must be passed by the Legislature.  As filed, both versions have slight differences, but both fund HB 3 requirements from the 2019 session. Based on the budget recommendations made in both bills, the Legislature seems open to increased education spending, but as of yet in the budget process there is no increase in the “basic allotment,” the main component of state aid to schools, and no increase in teacher salaries. Budget “riders” show some intent to do so, however. Money that has been added to the budget as filed is $1 billion for mental health and $600 million for school safety.

State of the State Address

Gov. Greg Abbott turned his State of the State speech into a primetime televised address broadcast statewide. He outlined his legislative priorities in an evening speech from a studio in San Marcos, departing from a long tradition of speaking in person to state lawmakers at the Capitol. Typically, governors use the speech to name “emergency items” that the Legislature can start debating immediately, without waiting for the constitutional 60-day period to end (see January’s UTD).

The governor named seven emergency items that lawmakers can vote on immediately: cutting property taxes, ending COVID-19 restrictions “forever,” expanding school choice, making schools safer, ending “revolving-door” bail policies, securing the state’s border with Mexico and cracking down on fentanyl. 

Lieutenant Governor Announces 30 Priorities He Hopes to Pass

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick presented a list of 30 priority bills on Monday that range from handling the state's money for the next two years to legislation addressing teacher pay, parental rights and Texas' water supply. Many of these priorities concern public education, noted below.  Except for the budget, none of these priority bills have been filed yet, so the details are still to be determined.

Senate Bill 1: State Budget
Senate Bill 3: Increasing the Homestead Exemption to $70,000
Senate Bill 4: Adding Additional Property Tax Relief
Senate Bill 8: Empowering Parental Rights – Including School Choice
Senate Bill 9: Empowering Teacher Rights – Teacher Pay Raise
Senate Bill 10: Adding 13th Checks for Retired Teachers
Senate Bill 11: Keeping Our Schools Safe and Secure
Senate Bill 12: Banning Children’s Exposure to Drag Shows
Senate Bill 13: Protecting Children from Obscene Books in Libraries
Senate Bill 14: Ending Child Gender Modification
Senate Bill 29: Banning Local COVID-19 Mandates
Visit Rally Day and Legislative Priorities for expanded resources!
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