All Major Bills are Now Filed
Friday was the final day to file legislation. All of our top 30 priority bills we posted weeks ago were filed by the deadline, two already have the bi-partisan support of all 31 Senators.
One of these historic bills is Senate Bill 3 by Senator Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, which increases the Homestead Exemption to $70,000 for everyone under the age of 65, and $100,000 for seniors 65 and older.
SB 10 by Senator Joan Huffman, R-Houston, is another historic bill with unanimous support. It will give retired teachers 75 and older a check for $7,500 and create a cost of living increase (COLA) for all retired teachers. They have sought this COLA for many years. Retired teachers who have been retired for 2 to 9 years will get a monthly increase of 2% and those who have been retired 10 years and more will get a 4% monthly increase. We are using over $4 billion of the surplus to fund this bill. Current teachers and school districts will not be asked to increase contributions for this bill.
Here are a few other highlights of my top 30 priority bills and a few of the higher number bills filed yesterday. All must still go through committee and may be changed with amendments in committee or on the Senate floor. Then they must go to the House for passage, where they can change as well. However, this is a great start to what can be and should be the most important session in Texas history. This is the strongest set of conservative legislation, priority bills, and others, ever presented in Texas history.
I want to thank our great Senators and their staff for the endless hours of listening to voters, studying issues in detail, and writing these strong bills. I want to thank my staff for all the work they did on these issues as well. I follow the progress of each of these key bills and take a very active part in them as well. I love that part of my job.
SB 2424 — State Authority to Enforce our Border by Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury
This will create a new state crime for illegally crossing the border into Texas, punishable from up to one year in jail to potentially life in prison depending on the prior offenses the perpetrator has committed. Biden may not be serious about the border, but Texas is. We are also continuing the funding of nearly $4 billion to continue Operation Lone Star.
SB 1 — State Budget by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston
SB 2 — Restoring Voter Fraud to a Felony by Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola
In our election bill last session, the House lowered the penalty for illegal voting to a misdemeanor. We are now restoring the punishment to a felony.
SB 3 — Increasing the Homestead Exemption to $70,000 by Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston
Increases the Homestead exemption to $70,000 for everyone under 65, and $100,000 for seniors 65 and older.
SB 4 — Adding Additional Property Tax Relief by Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston
Increases school tax relief and addresses the rise in Robin Hood recapture for many districts.
SB 5 — Increasing the Business Personal Property Tax Exemption by Sen. Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound
Increases the business personal property exemption and reduces part of the business inventory tax. Texas is one of few states to have this tax. This relief will help businesses grow and create more jobs.
SB 6 — Adding New Natural Gas Plants by Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown
We need more reliable dispatchable natural gas power added to the electric grid. We can’t count on windmills and solar panels when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining.
SB 7 — Continuing to Improve the Texas Grid by Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown
This will make windmills and solar compete on a more level playing field with dispatchable energy sources (mostly natural gas) and incentivize new generation. Renewables are a good asset, but they cannot be relied upon at all times.
Additional Bills Addressing the Grid:
SB 2010 — Independent Market Monitor Transparency by Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown
Brings transparency to detect and prevent market manipulation.
SB 2011 — Voluntary Mitigation Plan Protections by Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown
Updates Voluntary Mitigation Plan (VMP) requirements to protect against market power abuse.
SB 2012 — PCM Protections (Guardrail) by Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown
Builds on the good attributes of the “performance credit mechanism” (PCM), but adds guardrails to ensure rates are manageable for Texans and that any rate increase goes directly to improving dispatchable reliability.
SB 2013 — Grid Infrastructure Protection by Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown
Installs necessary protections to prevent exposure from attacks on the electric grid from hostile foreign powers.
SB 1287 — Allowance for Generation Interconnection Costs by Sen. Phil King, R-Weatherford
Requires new generation to address the distance from load to reduce interconnection costs to consumers and incentivize new dispatchable generation.
SB 2015 — Dispatchable Energy Goals by Sen. Phil King, R-Weatherford
Reverts to the original intent of SB 7’s (76th Legislature, 1999) natural gas goal. The bill sets a goal that all new generation built must be at least 50% dispatchable energy starting in 2024.
SB 2014 — Renewable Energy Credit Repeal by Sen. Phil King, R-Weatherford
Repeals the Renewable Energy Credit (REC) mandate, which fulfilled its purpose, to level the playing field between renewables and dispatchable energy generation.
SB 8 — Empowering Parental Rights – Including School Choice by Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe
This bill includes a school choice savings account and a guarantee that parents have a say in their child’s education. This bill will fund schools in districts with student populations of 20,000 and under fully for 2 years for the students who choose to leave their district under this bill.
SB 9 — Empowering Teacher Rights – Teacher Pay Raise by Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe
This bill will make classrooms safer by bringing discipline back to classrooms. It also includes a pay raise for all teachers and an added pay raise for rural teachers, who on average make less money than urban and suburban teachers.
SB 10 — Retired Teachers COLA and Check for 75 and Older by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston
SB 11 — Keeping Our Schools Safe and Secure by Sen. Roberts Nichols, R-Jacksonville
Provides a significant increase in school safety funding and revises safety policies based on a year-long study and hearings of how to best protect our schools.
SB 12 — Banning Children’s Exposure to Drag Shows by Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola
Puts an end to this unacceptable growing trend.
SB 13 — Protecting Children from Obscene Books in Libraries by Sen. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney
Protects children from obscene books in libraries and increases transparency and parental oversight.
SB 14 — Ending Child Gender Modification by Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels
Ends the practice of gender modification on children. Any doctor who sterilizes a child or performs gender modification procedures on a child will lose his or her medical license.
SB 15 — Protecting Women’s College Sports by Sen. Mayes Middleton, R-Galveston
We banned boys from playing girls’ sports in K-12 in the last session, and we will ban it for public universities and colleges this session.
SB 16 — Banning Critical Race Theory (CRT) in Higher Education by Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola
When UT professors said they would teach Critical Race Theory at the University of Texas, I said we banned it in K-12 last session and we will do the same for public universities and colleges this session.
SB 17 — Banning Discriminatory “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) Policies in Higher Education by Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe
This divisive and discriminatory policy of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” must end in our universities and colleges. There is a difference between equality and equity. We want equality for all. Equity destroys the idea of meritocracy.
SB 18 — Eliminating Tenure at General Academic Institutions by Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe
When I pushed back on University of Texas professors teaching CRT, they replied claiming they are not accountable to the legislature, which means you the taxpayer, or even accountable to the Board of Regents. My response was that we would end tenure. Tenure gives some professors an almost guaranteed job for life without any accountability to anyone and this must end.
SB 19 — Creating A New Higher Education Endowment Fund by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston
The University of Texas and Texas A&M University are the only schools that can participate in the long-time Permanent University Fund (PUF) from oil and gas royalties. The PUF is now valued at $36 billion. The new fund will create an endowment for Texas Tech, the University of Houston, and others who qualify. Note: All Higher Ed schools must address SB 16, SB 17, and SB 18.
SB 20 — Removing District Attorneys Who Refuse to Follow Texas Law by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston
This bill requires district attorneys to enforce all Texas laws. A district attorney can be removed from office for choosing to not enforce Texas laws.
SB 21 — Removing Judges Who Refuse to Follow Texas Law by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston
This bill requires judges to follow Texas law when setting bail. If a judge insists on giving unreasonably low bail to dangerous criminals, then the judge can be removed from office.
SB 22 — Assisting Rural Law Enforcement Funding – Increasing Pay and Needed Equipment by Sen. Drew Springer, R-Muenster
As I traveled across rural Texas on my 130-city bus tour, I met Sheriffs who made $30,000-40,000 and deputies making less. They were short on staff and some equipment. The state has always required counties to fund sheriff departments. Many rural counties simply can’t fully fund the departments. For the first time in history, the state will provide supplemental funding for these departments. This bill will also provide supplemental funding for local DAs and their investigators.
SB 23 — Creating A Mandatory 10-Year Prison Sentence for Criminals Committing Gun Crime by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston
Criminals who use a gun during a violent crime will get a ten-year mandatory sentence (at a minimum).
SB 24 — Expanding the Texas Pregnancy and Parenting Support Network by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham
This bill codifies the “Texas Pregnancy and Parenting Support Network” (formerly the Alternatives to Abortion program) in order to fund services to families to promote healthy pregnancy and childbirth, family formation, and help families achieve economic self-sufficiency.
SB 25 — Creating New Scholarships for Registered Nurses by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham
We have a shortage of nurses in Texas. We have scholarships for law enforcement and math and science teachers. I am expanding these programs to include nurses to combat the shortage.
SB 26 — Expanding Mental Health Care Beds Across Texas – Focus on Rural Counties by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham
I also learned on my bus tour about the need for more mental healthcare hospitals and facilities across Texas. I have invested more money into mental healthcare than any Lt. Governor in Texas history. We are going to build out hundreds of added beds with this legislation. This is another good use of our budget surplus.
SB 27 — Creating A New Business Specialty Court by Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola
Creates a Business Specialty Court for complex business cases that need judges with the experience to understand these complex and major issues.
SB 28 — Addressing Texas’ Future Water Needs by Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock
This continues the investments we made in past sessions on this critical need. Once again another good investment from our budget surplus.
SB 29 — Banning Local COVID-19 Mandates by Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury
We cannot allow local governments to take extreme measures to shut down our counties, cities, businesses, and schools.
SB 30 — Supplemental Budget by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston
There are many other important bills that have been filed and will be passed this session out of the Senate. If you want to read more on these bills, you can go online to www.capitol.texas.gov and look in the middle of the page to search legislation. Type in SB and the number to read and track the bill as it makes its way through the legislative process. If you don’t know the number of a bill you can type in a key phrase. If you are looking up a House bill you type in HB and the number.
On the right of that page, it says “Legislative Activity”. That is where you can watch live sessions and hearings, as well as past videos under “Audio/Video Archive”.
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