Lt. Governor Patrick Makes a Statement on Transportation Bills

February 25, 2015

AUSTIN – Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick makes the following statement on the passage of Committee Substitutes for Senate Bill 5 and Senate Joint Resolution 5 out of the Senate Transportation Committee:

“Today’s near unanimous vote, just six weeks into the 84th Legislative Session, demonstrates that the Texas Senate considers transportation funding a top priority.

“This is one of my major initiatives and one of Governor Greg Abbott’s emergency issues. I am hopeful the full Senate will approve and send these two bills to the Texas House very quickly.

“As I’ve said many times in the past, we’ve relied too heavily on debt and tolls. It’s time we guarantee an additional $5 billion in transportation funding for the next budget cycle.”

The Senate Transportation Committee voted today 8-1 to send the Committee Substitutes for Senate Bill 5 and Senate Joint Resolution 5 to the full Senate for consideration.


Texas Senators Unveil Texas Senate Taxpayer Relief Act

February 24, 2015

AUSTIN – Today, flanked by a dozen Senators, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick introduced Finance Chair, Senator Jane Nelson, and Senator Charles Schwertner, who unveiled a major tax relief package that will keep the Texas economy leading the nation and provide long overdue tax relief to Texas taxpayers.

“I am pleased to support one of the largest and most significant tax relief packages in the history of Texas,” said Patrick. “These reforms will provide immediate and lasting economic relief to both homeowners and businesses. I worked closely with Senator Nelson and Senator Schwertner over the last four months and I appreciate their leadership on this issue.

“At the end of the day, the Texas economy stays strong if people have more money in their pocket and if businesses have more money to create jobs.”

The tax relief package includes several pieces of legislation that will:

-Provide homeowners with immediate tax relief by raising the homestead exemption to 25 percent of the median market value of residential homesteads in Texas. For the first year of implementation, the amount exempted from school property tax is estimated to be $33,625 per homestead. This amount will adjust with market values in the future. This will provide an estimated $2.441 billion in property tax relief in 2016-2017.

-Reduce the tax burden on Texas businesses by making permanent a 15 percent rate reduction in the franchise tax (SB 7 – Nelson).

-Support Texas small businesses by increasing the franchise tax exemption from the current $1 million exemption to $4 million. This will completely eliminate franchise tax liability for more than half of all small businesses currently paying the tax (SB 8 – Schwertner).

-The cumulative effect of these reforms to the franchise tax will save Texas businesses more than $2 billion over the next biennium.

-A proposed constitutional amendment will also protect homeowners by permanently banning any tax on the conveyance of real property (SB 1 & SJR- Nelson).

Patrick added, “This is the Senator’s bill and Senator’s Senate. I’m proud to say this legislative package already has bipartisan support and 24 Senators have signed on their support.”

In response to this announcement, Bill Hammond, CEO, Texas Association of Business said, “The Texas Association of Business and the business community praise Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Sen. Jane Nelson for a plan to cut taxes that will help both homeowners and businesses throughout the state. We feel this is a strong starting point.”

Will Newton, Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)/Texas said, “We salute Lt. Governor Patrick and the Senate authors of this package of legislation, and specifically the small business tax relief act.

“SB1, SB7, and SB8 are sure footed steps down a tax relief path, providing property and small business owners alike with more opportunity for capital reinvestment. As we have stated before NFIB/Texas supports full repeal of the franchise tax, but will also support any and all legislation that works to reform the tax and raise the exemption threshold,” concluded Newton.


Texas Leaders Say State Will Win Immigration Case

February 19, 2015

Texas Republicans on Wednesday continued their celebration of a federal judge’s decision to halt President Obama’s executive action on immigration, expressing confidence that the state will prevail as the case moves through the higher courts.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick joined Gov. Greg Abbott at a Capitol press conference where Abbott, the state’s former attorney general who filed the suit before being sworn in as governor, said a key witness bolstering the state’s case was the president himself.

Obama’s policy, announced in November, would have made as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants — including some 1.46 million in Texas — eligible for a renewable work permit and temporary relief from deportation.

But on Monday, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville ruled that the president violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs the way federal policies are crafted and how much public input is taken. Twenty-five other states have joined the lawsuit since December.

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Lt. Governor Patrick Makes a Statement on Gov. Abbott’s State of the State

February 17, 2015

AUSTIN – Today, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick made the following statement regarding Governor Abbott’s State of the State address:

“As Lieutenant Governor, it was everything I wanted to hear in the State of the State address. He pinpointed the issues that both of us presented to the voters of Texas over the last 18 months. Texans overwhelmingly support: additional border security, property tax and business tax relief, transportation funding, education reform and school choice.

“Regarding his emergency items the Senate is already moving forward on a number of issues including border security, transportation and ethics reform.

“It is clear that Governor Abbott and I stand shoulder to shoulder on these ideas. I look forward to working with him, and Speaker Joe Straus, in passing the people’s agenda.”


Statement from Lt. Governor Patrick on Court’s Executive Amnesty Ruling

February 17, 2015

President Obama was handed a major setback tonight in what I always believed was his unlawful attempt to circumvent the U.S. Constitution by creating amnesty for millions of people here illegally.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled in favor of Texas and 25 other states who challenged President Obama’s executive action on immigration.

I applaud Governor Abbott who as Attorney General led this fight when he filed suit in December.


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Update from Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (Feb. 13)

February 16, 2015

It was less than four weeks ago that we were gathered on the south steps of the Texas capitol to celebrate a NEW DAY in Texas. During the inauguration ceremony, Governor Abbott and I talked about delivering on the promises we made throughout our campaigns. I am happy to report that I am working quickly to achieve them.

DP_EG_photo_1Speaking at Inauguration 

The Texas Senate is off to a fast start with a mission to get our priorities done sooner, rather than later. Quickly passing legislation on tax relief, education reforms, border security and second amendment expansions will allow us more time to focus on the state’s top priorities instead of scrambling at the finish line.

DP_Resize_600px_02Announcing a new border security funding plan

Since I was sworn into office on January, I have delivered on several promises from the campaign including:

-led the way for changing the blocker bill rule in the Texas Senate which will allow the Texas Senate to pass conservative bills with 3/5th’s support instead of the 2/3rd’s threshold. (We have been fighting this fight since 2007!)

-made the Texas Senate more efficient by reducing the number of committees from 18 to 14.

-identified $12 million dollars to keep the Texas National Guard and Department of Public Safety on the border until the end of May. This will give us time to formulate a plan to permanently fund our increased law enforcement along the border.

-rolled out a conservative Budget Blue Print for the next two years staying well below the constitutional spending cap. This spending plan will provide for $4 Billion dollars in real tax relief for homeowners and businesses as well as double our state’s spending on border security;

-expedited and voted two gun bills with wide support out of the Senate State Affairs committee (SB 11 campus carry, and SB 17 open carry)

-filed legislation to dedicate billions of dollars in additional road improvement money and allow Texas voters to prioritize TxDOT funding, instead of relying on toll roads and increased debt.

DP_Resize_600pxAddressing the Houston Livestock & Rodeo’s Pony Express riders

We are only 24 days into the session and I have delivered on many of the promises I made to you during the campaign. Increased border security, passing open carry and campus carry legislation, changing the 2/3rds rule, and making tax cuts a priority are well on their way to becoming a reality in Texas. As your Lt. Governor, I will continue to deliver on my promises to you because it is a NEW DAY in Texas!

Thank you for your support,

Dan Patrick
Lieutenant Governor of Texas

Patrick has Senate on fast track

February 15, 2015

Quick passage of bills, property tax relief are his primary goals

AUSTIN – Armed with what he sees as a conservative mandate from Texas voters, and pledging to quickly move on his campaign agenda, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says the Senate intends to take the unusual step of passing and sending major bills to the House just two months after the start of the legislative session.

That could include highly controversial subjects such as guns on college campuses, open carry and school choice, and would break a long-standing Capitol tradition of leaving the passage of hot-button legislation until late in the session.

In his first sit-down interview since he took office Jan. 20, Patrick said he intends to stand firm on significantly reducing taxes for property owners and businesses, even if that means a special legislative session next summer.

“This election was significant,” Patrick told the Houston Chronicle. “If my message was clear, the people’s message was even more clear: ‘We want change. We want these things done. We didn’t elect Dan Patrick to go in and play slow ball and maintain the status quo.’”

He said that means the 31-member Senate will move quickly to pass and send significant legislation to the House just 60 days into the legislative session, the earliest opportunity to do so.

“My goal is very clear: Tee up as much legislation as we can, send it to the House as quickly as we can and be ready to take House bills,” Patrick said, confirming a strategy that some lawmakers predict could trigger a political showdown between the two chambers.

“We’re moving quickly to get a budget, yes,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Jane Nelson told reporters, as her committee continued work on the next two-year budget – weeks ahead of the usual Senate schedule in recent years.

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Lt. Governor Patrick on Border Security

February 10, 2015

AUSTIN – Today, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick held a press conference where he announced an update on border security priorities in the senate.

“Since deploying the national guard and increasing our Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers on the border last summer, we have seen a significant decline in the number of apprehensions,” said Patrick. “However, the latest intelligence from our law enforcement clearly states our border is still not secure.

“Our National Guard troops must stay to protect our border. I did not support removing the guard in March and we cannot afford to pull back now.

“We have identified $12 million dollars to keep the guard funded until the end of May. This will give us time to work on getting a supplemental bill to further and permanently fund our law enforcement along the border.

“While securing the border is a responsibility of Washington, DC, it is still a Texas problem.

“That’s why the Senate budget that was put forth earlier this session will continue to fund the guard for the next two years and provide funding for DPS at the highest levels in history to protect our border,” concluded Patrick.


[Texas Border Security Stats]

Lt. Governor Patrick and Senator Nichols Announce Transportation Bill

February 4, 2015

AUSTIN – Today, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, along with Senate Transportation Chair, Robert Nichols, announced the filing of SB 5 and SJR 5, which dedicates a portion of existing motor vehicle sales tax revenue to fund road construction and maintenance.

“I am proud that Senator Nichols is leading the charge in addressing our ailing transportation funding system,” said Patrick. “Dedicating these dollars and ending the diversion of existing gas tax revenue will dramatically improve our state roadways.

“Making additional revenue available will allow us to refocus on a pay-as-you-go system for our roadways and steer us away from debt and toll roads. This is an issue I advocated for during the campaign that received strong support from the voters. It’s a promise I’ve made and a promise I’ve kept,” concluded Patrick.


Dan Patrick Statement on Senate Gun Bills

February 2, 2015

AUSTIN – Today, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick referred the following legislation to the Senate State Affairs Committee:

-Senate Bill 342 (SB 342), Relating to providing for the open and concealed carrying of handguns without a license and to related offenses and penalties.

-Senate Bill 346 (SB 346), Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry a holstered handgun.

“I have asked the chair of the committee to schedule these two bills, and the Campus Carry (Senate Bill 11) bill which was referred last week, for a public hearing as soon as possible.

“Over the past week the senators have been working hard to build support and I look forward to working on these 2nd Amendment priorities.”