A Trump administration changes what is possible for Texas lawmakers

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick reacts to election win of Donald Trump (KXAN Photo)
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick reacts to election win of Donald Trump (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — What the United States will look like under President-elect Trump is still unclear.  However, Texas GOP lawmakers already have an idea of how they want to change our state.

Elections have consequences and state GOP leaders tell KXAN they look forward to having the Obama Justice Department off their back and a Supreme Court that favors them, after Trump says he’ll appoint a conservative.

Monday was the first day lawmakers could file bills for the next session and the Senate leader laid out many bills he wants to pass besides the mandatory state budget. Here are Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s top five after the budget from a press release his office sent out:

  1. Property Tax Reform – Texans pay the sixth highest property taxes in the nation and the high rates are taxing people out of their homes and hampering business growth. This must change.
  2. School Choice – There is broad support for legislation to ensure that every parent has the option to send their child to the school they believe is best for them.
  3. Sanctuary Cities – No city in Texas should be allowed to ignore the law. We will end this practice once and for all this session.
  4. Photo Voter ID – Nothing is more critical to our democracy than the integrity of the voting process. Photo Voter ID is essential.
  5. Women’s Privacy Act – A majority of Texans in both political parties and in every ethnic and demographic group believe that women and girls should have privacy and safety in their restrooms, showers and locker rooms. Unfortunately, legislation is necessary to assure that they do.

“Starting in 2017, we will have a friend in the White House who was clearly elected because the people of this country believe in the conservative principles that have guided the way we govern in Texas — life, liberty and lean government that promotes prosperity,” Lt. Governor Patrick stated in the news release.

Controversy came to Dripping Springs School district in September after a third grader, born a boy, was using the girls bathroom because he identified as a girl. But Texas Senate Republicans will likely have the votes to make students go to bathrooms designated at birth. Jonathan Saenz from Texas Values says voters this November supported the move by electing a state GOP majority and a Republican president.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to set the record straight on some of these issues and make it very clear and specific in law,” said Saenz. He’s also excited federal suits could be a thing of the past when it comes to abortions and religious freedoms…

“To make sure we have something specific in state law in as many issues as possible before they go up to the court,” said Saenz.

But Texas House Democrats held a press conference touting healthcare and education funding. They’re asking the Austin community for help because many times they won’t have the numbers to keep controversial social issues off the table, calling on Texans to support “kitchen table issues.”

“We’ve been the grown ups. We are going to continue to be the grown ups,” said Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, who filed a bill to set it in the Texas constitution that the state pays for half of your child’s public school. Right now, the state pays around 42 percent of public, K-12 education, relying heavily on local property taxes.

“Time after time we come up here and we talk about things that are on the fringes and that’s gotta stop,” said Rep. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio.

The burden to hold up conservative laws is now on a group of Texas Democratic House and Senate members who fear the Trump administration will come down on the side of the GOP state majority.

Hundreds of bills were filed Monday for the upcoming legislative session, ranging from safety in college sports, to inappropriate teacher-student relationships.

Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, pre-filed 42 bills, including one that bans texting and driving. Several senators filed similar bills. Another would create universal pre-k for all four year olds and expand half-day pre-k to qualifying at-risk three year olds.

Senator Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, filed six senate bills including one requiring students to receive an electrocardiogram or EKG before participating in any UIL activity.

Georgetown Republican Charles Schwertner filed a bill that could bring ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft back to Austin. The bill could lead to statewide regulations for ridesharing.

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