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Elections Lead to High Turnover in State Legislature


Pre-filing of bills, many county-related, begins

By Ender Reed
TAC Legislative Staff

The results for the 2012 election have been tallied.

The biggest difference in the Legislature this year is the amount of turnover, with approximately a third of the Legislature made up of members who are new to either the House or the Senate. With the loss of so many veteran legislators, there will be a great deal of new committee chairs.

Within the state, Republicans continue to hold majorities in both the Texas House and the Texas Senate. In the Senate, Republicans hold 19 seats and Democrats hold 12 seats. In the House, Republicans hold 95 seats and Democrats hold 55 seats.

Now that the elections are complete, lawmakers have turned their sights to the 83rd Legislative Session, which convenes on Jan. 8 and will last for 140 days. That time may be extended, however, if the governor reconvenes the Legislature for special sessions in order to resolve issues that were not addressed during the regular session.

Bill pre-filing begins
In preparation for the next session, legislators began pre-filing bills on Nov. 12. More than 250 bills were filed on the first day alone. The first array of pre-filed bills relate to a wide range of issues, although most are focused on matters relating to education, health care and criminal justice.

Many of the bills relate to county issues. They include HB 104, a bill that would repeal the driver responsibility program; HB 109, a bill that would authorize a local option election to legalize or prohibit the operation of eight-liner machines; SB 81, a bill that would permit the registration of voters at a polling place; as well as SB 102, a bill that would impose a stricter revenue cap.

During the last legislative session, close to 6,000 bills were filed, so many more bills are expected to be filed in the coming months. TAC legislative staff will provide additional information on county related bills as they are filed and move through the process over the course of the session.