1. Raising the minimum wage
This session went about the same as other recent efforts to raise the state minimum wage. Despite more than 10 bills being filed on this topic—some to raise the wage to as much as $15 and others to $10.10—none got very far. For the most part, House bills were heard in the House Business and Industry Committee and were subsequently left pending since mid-March. Related Senate bills didn't even get a hearing. So, for now, Texas' minimum wage will remain the same as the federal minimum, $7.25.
2. Decriminalizing small possessions of marijuana
An effort to decriminalize possession of marijuana failed despite bipartisan leadership from Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, and Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs. The two sponsored House Bill 81, which would lower penalties for possession of one ounce of marijuana from arrests to mere tickets. The bill failed to receive approval before an important deadline that rendered all unvoted upon House bills useless.
3. Constitutional carry
While the session has featured numerous steps toward reducing the complexities of the license to carry process, it hasn't featured final movement toward constitutional carry. State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, sponsored HB 375 which would allow any individual without a license to carry or training to carry a handgun. The bill was heard in committee in late March and has not seen any movement since then.
4. Raising the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18
State Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, rallied this session in favor of his bill, HB 122, which would raise the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18, allowing 17-year-olds accused of crimes to remain in the juvenile system rather than the adult justice system. The bill passed the House in late April and has since sat in the Senate with no movement forward. The bill has not even received a committee assignment. At one point, Dutton threatened to kill any Senate bills that came to the House should his bill not pass, but has not done so since that threat was made.
5. Abolishing the death penalty
In the Senate, any bill related to abolishing the death penalty, or prohibiting the use of it in cases of an offense committed by a person with an intellectual disability, never received a committee hearing. In the House, Dutton's bill to abolish across the board received a committee hearing but has ultimately been left pending since early April. A bill that would have abolished the death penalty for individuals with severe mental illness made it onto the House's general calendar but failed to clear an important deadline, rendering the bill lifeless for the remainder of this session.