Texas Senate Rushes To Pass Most Of Gov. Abbott's Agenda

Jul 24, 2017

From private school vouchers to property tax reforms, now that the Texas Senate has cleared its requirement of passing a bill that licenses the existence of some state agencies, the game is on to pass the other priorities Gov. Greg Abbott outlined ahead of this summer’s special session.  

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the senate, intends to pass 10 to 12 of Gov. Abbott’s 19 additional special session items within a 24 hour period

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State Sen. Larry Taylor, a Houston-area Republican is the author of several of those bills.  One would provide rural school districts at risk of closing more state funding while also creating a private school voucher program for special needs students.

“Most of our students who are special needs are very happy with their situation but we’ve had a lot of testimony and a lot of personal stories from people who say that is not working well for them," Taylor says.

The Senate will also likely pass legislation that would limit how much cities can raise local property tax rates.

Sen. Jose Menendez, a San Antonio Democrat, was critical of a local property tax reform bill because of how it will impact major cities who use property tax revenues to cover the cost of hiring additional emergency personnel like police officers, firefighters and paramedics.

“Two-thirds of the City of San Antonio’s budget is in public safety and first responders, the sad thing is this type of bill,” Menendez explains.

The Senate is looking to pass all 20 of the Governor’s special session agenda items, which include a transgender bathroom bill, within the first two weeks of the 30-day special session.