Senate Bills 1-30 are typically reserved for legislation that is important to the lieutenant governor. Similarly, House Bills 1-20 are reserved for House Speaker Dade Phelan’s priority bills.
SB 1, the 1,033-page state budget, is the only one of Patrick’s 30 priority bills to be filed so far. The budget, which determines how the state funds various programs for 2024-25, is the only bill lawmakers are required to pass during the legislative session.
“Senators like to get a low bill number because it shows their bill is also a priority of the lieutenant governor and has a great chance of passing,” Patrick said in the release. “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.”
Patrick’s priorities include:
- Making voter fraud a felony offense;
- Providing property tax relief for homeowners and businesses;
- Increasing natural gas production and strengthening the state power grid;
- Expanding school choice and “parental rights” in schools;
- Increasing pay for current and retired teachers;
- Improving school safety;
- Banning “gender modification” procedures for children;
- "Protecting women's college sports;"
- Banning “discriminatory” diversity, equity and inclusion policies in higher education;
- Eliminating academic tenure;
- Removing from office judges and district attorneys who do not abide by state laws;
- Increasing salaries for rural law enforcement officers;
- Creating a mandatory minimum sentence for criminals who illegally possess guns;
- Expanding alternative options to abortion;
- Creating new scholarships for registered nurses;
- Adding more beds for mental health care, especially in rural areas;
- Tackling the state’s “future water needs"; and
- Banning local coronavirus restrictions.
According to the release, other priorities, such as increased funding for border security, are included in the state budget. Lawmakers have access to an unprecedented $188.2 billion to fund their chosen initiatives for the upcoming biennium.
As of Feb. 20, Texas state senators had filed nearly 1,300 prospective bills. Patrick expects lawmakers will pass over 600 bills before the session ends May 29, according to the release.