The Third Special Session adjourned late Monday night. We made monumental strides in delivering for the people of Texas. The bills passed serve as a testament to our steadfast commitment to our conservative values and doing what is right – even in the toughest of times. It adds to an already historic regular session that ended in May.
I am very proud of what we were able to accomplish in such a short amount of time in the Third Special Session. A lot of work was done, as you will see below, in only a few weeks. However, some important bills were never given a hearing in the House. The Senate restored felony penalties for illegal voting, which the House had cut to a misdemeanor. The Governor added that issue to the call, but the Speaker refused to hear the bill. The House also never had a hearing on the Forensic Audit Bill that the Senate passed twice. If Governor Abbott decides to call us back at any time to pass both or any other key issue, he has my support.
In Case You Missed It:
The Texas Senate pushed through a bold financial package using both American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and state dollars to address health issues related to COVID-19, and the financial impact on homeowners, businesses and education. It is important to note that much of the ARPA funds were sent to Texas to reimburse us for state funds we already spent on COVID from the last 18 months or losses we had from COVID.
Features of this agreement are the following:
- $7.2 billion to restore our unemployment insurance which was depleted during 2020.
- $2 billion for COVID-19-related nursing surge.
- Hundreds of millions of dollars for new hospitals and mental health services across Texas.
- $500 million for broadband infrastructure.
- $300 million for a new state operations emergency center.
- $349 million for COVID-19 public safety salary compensation.
- $286 million for the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) so that our retired teachers do not see an increase in their health insurance premiums.
- $325 million to fund over $3 billion in higher education, health, science and other projects.
- $95 million for Texas food banks.
- $75 million for rural hospitals.
- $35 million for our veterans’ homes.
- Over $100 million for sexual assault fund and crime victims’ compensation.
- $180 million for tourism, travel and hospitality.
We kept nearly $3 billion of the ARPA funds in reserve.
Property Tax Relief Will Save Homeowners Thousands Over the Lifetime of Their Home.
We created lasting savings by increasing the homestead exemption permanently from $25,000 to $40,000 for every homeowner. The increase in the homestead exemption will save every homeowner $175 per year. In 2015, I increased the homestead exemption for the first time in decades from $15,000 to $25,000. Since I became Lt. Governor, the homestead exemption is $25,000 more than before.
We have lowered the annual growth in property taxes from about 7-8% a year for most homeowners, to an average growth of 2.5% on school taxes and an average growth of 3.5% on county taxes. All of these changes will provide property tax relief for homeowners over the lifetime of their home, which will total in the thousands in tax savings. As Lt. Governor, I will continue my fight against rising property taxes.
New Maps Passed
Every 10 years after the latest census is reported, each state must pass newly drawn maps for their state House and Senate districts, as well as for Congress. Texas also passed a new State Board of Education map.
I want to thank Senator Joan Huffman for her endless hours of drawing these fair and legal maps.
President Trump Was Right…
Our southern border is out of control. We are expected to apprehend over 1 million illegal immigrants this year alone. This could have been prevented had President Biden not halted construction of the border wall or reversed other successful policies President Trump implemented. I spoke about this on America’s Newsroom. Click here to watch the interview.
Texas Federation of Republican Women Convention
What a great couple of days at the Texas Federation of Republican Women (TFRW) Convention in Round Rock. TFRW has played a major role in electing conservatives election after election. These wonderful women are a key force in keeping Texas red.
This young boy’s name is Remmer and he has raised an astounding $6,000 for Wreaths Across America!
We also awarded one lucky conservative with a red Michael Kors bag — pictured here with the winner, Lyleann!
May God bless you and your family, and may He continue to bless the greatest state of all—Texas.
Lieutenant Governor of Texas