My Top 30 Priorities for the 2023 Legislative Session
Each session, the 31 members of the Texas Senate file thousands of bills. Some are duplicates because members often have similar priorities voiced to them by their constituents. The tradition has been for bill numbers 1 through 20 to indicate the Lt. Governor’s and the Senate’s priorities. In 2017, I increased the low bill numbers to 30. Senators like to get a low bill number because it shows their bill is also a priority of the Lt. Governor and has a great chance of passing. I believe Texans support our priorities because they largely reflect the policies supported by the conservative majority of Texans. Most will pass with bipartisan support.
This session I could have used 50 low bill numbers because there are so many issues that need to be addressed. Just because a bill does not make the priority list does not mean it is not a priority for me or the Senate. We will pass over 600 bills this session. As I like to say, every bill is a priority to someone, otherwise we would not pass it.
This year, several of our policy initiatives are already addressed in the budget as opposed to specific bills. One example is Texas border security funding. Since President Biden took office and implemented his open border policies, Texas has stepped into the breach. Texas should not have to use our tax dollars to do the Federal Government’s job, but it is vitally important that we maintain our law enforcement and National Guard presence. If we do not, the border crisis will get much worse.
Meeting a Texan Storyteller
On Monday night, I had a great dinner with Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan and gave him a tour of the Senate. He has incredible talent and an amazing success story. He’s the best screenwriter of our time and one of the best storytellers ever to make movies. Best yet, he’s a Texan and gets Texas. My goal is for Taylor to move all of his TV and movie production to Texas. Working together, I think we can get it done.
Harris County Commissioners Court Defunding Law Enforcement (Again)
During the last session, passing legislation that stopped cities and counties from defunding the police was one of my top priorities. Senate Bill 23 did just that, setting forth penalties against local governments who defund police by requiring them to secure voter approval before passing a budget that reduces or reallocates funding originally dedicated to law enforcement.
Just last week, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar released a statement saying that Harris County violated SB 23 and defunded Constable Ted Heap’s office by $2.36 million. This is the second time the Comptroller has discovered that Harris County has tried to defund the police. Last year, they tried to cut law enforcement’s budget. This is an outrage and it will not stand!
We Must Continue to Embrace the Oil and Gas Industry
The Teacher Retirement System of Texas has divested part of its massive pension fund from woke investment firms state leaders accused of “boycotting” oil and gas companies.
In 2021, Texas lawmakers prohibited the state from contracting with or investing in companies that divest from oil, natural gas and coal companies. The pension, worth about $173 billion, is the sixth-largest such pension fund in the country.
For Texas to remain strong, we must continue to embrace oil and gas development, which provides affordable and reliable energy for Texans and for all of America.
Thank you all for your support and everything you do to make Texas the greatest place on earth. May God bless you and your family, and may He continue to bless the greatest state of all—Texas.
Lieutenant Governor of Texas