Texas Legislative Round-up: Week Two

by | Jan 19, 2023 | Policy, Texas Legislature

Welcome to the Texas Legislative Roundup! We are here to break down the latest on the Texas Legislative session in Austin. Every week, we’ll give you the honest take on the news that impacts you – without pretending it doesn’t. 

Week in Review

Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick were sworn into office for a third time this week. During his inaugural address, Governor Abbott promised to take on school safety this session. We do not have high hopes for any good legislation to come given his stance against common sense gun safety legislation and for attending a high-dollar fundraiser after the tragic shooting in Uvalde. The Governor will give a more policy-focused State of the State address in the upcoming weeks which will tell us more about his priorities. 

This week brought in another shameful Texas tradition, the marking of Confederate Heroes Day. House Representative Jarvis Johnson held a press conference on his bill, HB 51 which would abolish the embarrassing holiday. At the press conference, Democratic lawmakers emphasized the holiday’s celebration of white supremacists and how legislative action is necessary to stop this sordid glorification. 

This year marks the third time Rep. Johnson has filed this bill. No Republican lawmakers attended the press conference and it is unclear if Republican Speaker Dade Phelan will move the bill forward. Previously, Speaker Phelan sought to ban lawmakers from using the word “racism” when discussing a very racist voter suppression bill debate.

Rep. Johnson stated, “Confederate Heroes Day is a remembrance of a horrible past that has done irreparable damage to many of the residents of the state of Texas, and even today where children are growing up because it is a constant reminder of what our past truly was. The call now is to get rid of this harmful, hateful, holiday season. The revision is history has to stop.” 

What to Watch

The first few weeks of the Texas legislative session are mostly quiet as lawmakers file legislation and think about which committees they want to be on. Things begin to pick up when House committees are formed. We can expect committee assignments to be released in the upcoming weeks. The makeup of these committees will tell us a lot about how extreme this session will be on issues like abortion, LGBTQ rights, and racial justice.

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