Last week, the Texas Senate worked a marathon floor session lasting 15 hours to pass 5 of the 6 emergency items on Governor Abbott’s special session call, including school choice, teacher pay raises, border security, increasing penalties for human smuggling, and banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates for private employers. Yet again, the Texas Senate’s superb work ethic was on display for all to see.
The Texas House, under Speaker Phelan’s leadership, never came to an agreement on any of these bills during the regular legislative session and they all died.
Texas parents want school choice to pass. Texas teachers want pay raises. Texans expect stronger border security. Texas workers do not want to be forced to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
We Will NOT Stop Until School Choice Becomes Law
A one-size-fits-all approach to education leaves many of our students behind, and parents deserve options other than just their local public school.
Texans across the political spectrum agree that families must have choice in education to ensure their student has the best chance of success. Thirty-one states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C., offer education savings accounts for their students, and Texas students should not be left behind. The Texas Senate has passed school choice bills in 2015, 2017, and 2023. Sadly, each time, the bill died in the Texas House. The time to pass school choice is NOW!
Increasing School Funding and Teacher Pay
As the husband of a long-time schoolteacher, the son-in-law of a teacher, and father-in-law of a teacher, I know the impact of a great teacher on the development of a child. From the moment I arrived in the Texas Senate, improving public education has been one of my top goals.
Senate Bill 2 by Sens. Brandon Creighton, R- Conroe, and Joan Huffman, R- Houston, provides one-time teacher retention payments for the 2023-2024 school year because the state cannot modify existing contracts with teachers. Districts with less than 5,000 students will receive $10,000 per teacher and districts with more than 5,000 students will receive $3,000 per teacher for these payments.
Human Smuggling is Evil and Abhorrent, the Senate is Taking a Stand
Texans are tired of the Biden administration’s abdication of their constitutional responsibility to enforce the southern border. As the administration’s lack of action endangers Texans and all Americans, the passage of Senate Bill 4 by Sen. Pete Flores, R-Pleasanton, will support Texas’ historic efforts to secure the border and maintain public safety.
The Texas Senate has been working diligently to address the priorities of Texans. We passed this bill 29-2 with overwhelming support. This is now the third time the Texas Senate has passed this bill. The Texas Senate will pass this bill over and over again until it passes the Texas House.
Personal Health Care Decisions Should Not Be Made for You by Your Job
Over the past few years, too many Texans have had to choose between their jobs and their health. As Lt. Governor, I have championed legislation prohibiting any governmental entity from imposing mask or vaccine mandates on employees to make sure that Texans are not forced to make that decision.
The passage of Senate Bill 7 by Sen. Mayes Middleton, R-Galveston, addresses the private sector and will return medical freedom to citizens and ensure that Texans will not lose their livelihood over their personal health decisions. The Texas Senate will pass this bill over and over again until it passes the Texas House, which, under Speaker Phelan’s leadership, has killed many conservative priority bills.
Biden is Failing so Texas Must Defend our Border
Texas must take matters into our own hands because the crisis on our southern border, perpetuated by the Biden administration, continues to rage. The Texas Senate has appropriated billions of Texas taxpayer dollars to step into the breach created by Biden, Harris, and Mayorkas. Creating a state crime for illegal border crossings will give our troopers more authority to control the border and keep Texans safe.
Senate Bill 11 by Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, creates a new state crime for entering Texas illegally. SB 11 authorizes Texas law enforcement to arrest and prosecute all people who cross the border illegally anywhere in Texas. Punishment starts with up to one year in jail for a first-time offender, two years in state jail for a second-time offender, and up to life in prison for convicted felons who illegally cross the border.
Thank you all for your support and everything you do to keep Texas red. May God bless you and your family, and may He continue to bless the greatest state of all—Texas.
Lieutenant Governor of Texas