After 29 extra days at the Texas Capitol, lawmakers head back to their districts without having accomplished much. That’s good news, because Governor Greg Abbott’s 20 priorities mostly would have harmed Texans.
But these fixes should have been taken care of during the regular legislative session. Instead the policy agenda focused mostly on discriminatory, punitive, short-sighted proposals. Fortunately most of the bills failed to pass.
One dangerous proposal – SB 1 – died with a whimper. SB 1 would have interfered in local decision-making and constrained Texas cities and counties from paying for police, firefighters and paramedics. This irrational proposal is off the table for now. If lawmakers really want to come back and address property taxes, they should increase state aid to public schools.
The Texas House worked hard to craft a proposal – HB 21 – that would have been a good first step. But Texas Senate leaders neutered the bill by drastically reducing the funding and introducing new inequities. Some leaders will try to spin HB 21 as a win, but the “school non-finance” law that passed is a step backward for the students, families and employers of our state.
We’re grateful to all of the lawmakers and fellow advocates who worked overtime through the long, hard summer to advance our vision of a Texas that offers everyone the chance to compete and succeed in life. We’ll dust ourselves off to analyze the impact of new laws, keep watch on the Legislature’s next moves, and fight another day.