The 83rd Legislative Session has officially begun as have our weekly newsletters that will keep you apprised of legislative actions and activities—particularly those that relate to county government. In every newsletter, we will provide a “Week in Review,” where we will include information on the most important activities from a county perspective during that week of the session. We’ll keep you posted on significant county-related bills that were considered in committee or on the House and Senate floors and will provide some insight on the general activities at the Capitol.
From time to time, you will also receive legislative alerts in which we will request your assistance in contacting your legislators on certain time-critical matters impacting county government. Please watch your inboxes for our alerts during session and help our county legislative efforts at the Capitol.
This week at the Capitol:
Senate – The Senate adopted its rules. Most importantly, the chamber retained the two-thirds rule that prevents a bill from being considered on the Senate floor unless two-thirds of the members present agree to consider it. The rule has been a long-standing Senate tradition that tends to foster compromise and bipartisanship. Additionally, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) was elected president pro tempore of the Senate.
House – The House of Representatives re-elected Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) to a third term as speaker by acclamation. Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) was also a candidate, but withdrew his candidacy before a vote was taken. The chamber expects to take up the House rules that will govern its administration and how legislation is considered throughout the session on Monday, Jan. 14.
Biennial Revenue Estimate – Comptroller Susan Combs released the state’s biennial revenue estimate, which reflects the amount of funds the Legislature will have available in the upcoming state budget cycle. The projected $101.4 billion, as well as the $11.8 billion in the Rainy Day Fund, is a significant contrast from the shortfall the Legislature faced last session. Additional information about the revenue estimate is available here.
Bills Filed – About 650 bills have been filed thus far with many more expected as the session progresses. This is about 400 fewer bills than were filed at this time last session. In the coming weeks, we’ll be highlighting some of the more significant bills with an impact on county government.