Now that the sun has officially set on the 86th Legislature, it’s time to evaluate which bills passed, which failed, and which await either a veto or signature from Governor Greg Abbott.
HB 1 (Budget)
Passing the state budget is technically the only constitutionally required task of the state legislature during session. The final version of the budget for this biennium amounted to $250.7 billion in spending, which equates to a 6 percent increase from the 2018-2019 biennium.
HB 1 passed, and has been signed by both the House and the Senate and was sent to the comptroller on May 27.
SB 2 (Property Taxes)
SB 2 has been hailed by state Republican leaders as a significant step towards property tax relief, setting 2.5 percent caps for school districts and 3.5 percent caps for cities and counties before a ratifying election is triggered. The bill does include a provision called the “de minimis rate,” which would allow smaller, more rural areas to raise their rates above the set caps. Transparency reforms are included, though the bill doesn’t cut property taxes outright.
SB 2 passed, has been signed by the House and Senate, and awaits Governor Abbott’s signature.
HB 3 (School Finance)
HB 3 served as the legislature’s answer to many of the problems facing school finance and was hailed as a complete overhaul of the current system. HB 3 includes taxpayer-funded prekindergarten, increases per-student funding, and boasts a 47 percent decrease in Robin Hood. $6.5 billion is allotted to increase public education spending and give pay raises to teachers, while another $5.1 billion is set to buy down property taxes.
HB 3 passed and awaits Governor Abbott’s signature.
SB 16 (Loan Forgiveness)
Though legislation seeking to reduce the extent to which the Hazlewood Act creates a loan exemption program for military families had been championed in previous sessions, SB 16 sought to extend the same privileges to law enforcement officers. It passed the Senate unanimously and received nine no votes in the House.
SB 16 passed and now awaits the Governor’s signature or veto.
HB 16 (Born Alive Infant Protection Act)
Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) filed HB 16, the “Born Alive Infant Protection Act,” in response to New York passing legislation effectively permitting abortion at any point in a pregnancy, and would require medical professionals to provide life-saving care to an infant who survives a botched abortion procedure.
SB 21 (Tobacco-21)
SB 21 would raise the legal smoking age to 21 years old from 18 years old. Since its passage, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate that would raise the smoking age to 21 on the federal level. Abbott has previously expressed support for the legislation.
The bill passed both chambers and awaits the Governor’s signature.
SB 22 (Planned Parenthood and Government Contracts)
SB 22, authored by Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), would prevent abortion providers and affiliates from receiving taxpayer dollars. Every House Democrat voted against SB 22 and Rep. Sarah Davis (R-West University Place) was the lone Republican to oppose the legislation.
SB 29 (Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying)
The bill, authored by Sen. Bob Hall (R-Edgewood) and sponsored by Rep. Mayes Middleton (R-Wallisville), would have limited the scope of taxpayer-funded lobbying in Texas. During floor debate, Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) offered an amendment that excluded all but 20 of Texas’ 254 counties, essentially gutting the legislation.
HB 1500 (Heartbeat Bill)
One of the more prominent disappointments for pro-life advocacy groups this session was the death of the Texas Heartbeat Bill, filed by Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park). HB 1500 boasted over 60 coauthors and the benefit of having similar bills pass in states across the country, but never received a committee hearing.
HB 1631 (Red-Light Camera Ban)
HB 1631, filed by Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford), prevents red-light camera contracts from being extended, though it allows current contracts to run their course. This is the first piece of legislation passed by Stickland in his four terms in the House. Stickland famously attempted to kill one of Abbott’s legislative priorities after the passage of HB 1631.
The bill now awaits the Governor’s signature or veto.
HB 1936 (Death Penalty-Mental Illness Exemption)
Rep. Toni Rose’s (Dallas) bill would have exempted those diagnosed with a “severe mental illness” at the time of their committed crime from receiving the death penalty.
HB 2100 (Free Speech)
In the wake of increased free speech violations on college campuses, Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) filed HB 2100 aimed to protect free speech on college campuses. After it was hotly debated on the House floor, the bill passed in an 85-58 vote, but was never heard in the Senate.
SB 1978 (Religious Liberty)
After Rep. Matt Krause’s (R-Fort Worth) “Chick-fil-A Bill” died a dramatic death in the House before the midnight deadline, the Senate companion was revived and passed in both chambers after lengthy debate and notable opposition from the House’s LGBTQ Caucus.
Aimed at protecting businesses from being discriminated against based on their donations or affiliations, the bill is awaiting Governor Abbott’s signature or veto.
SB 2089 (10-Day Rule)
After the plight of Mrs. Carolyn Jones, a Beaumont woman who was cut-off from life-saving treatment by a Houston hospital, was made public, the bill aimed at reforming the 10-Day Rule in the Texas Advance Directives Act filed by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) received increased attention. SB 2089 passed the Senate, was heard in the House State Affairs Committee, but was never heard on the House floor.
- 10-Day Rule
- Bob Hall
- Briscoe Cain
- Bryan Hughes
- Carolyn Jones
- Dan Patrick
- Dennis Bonnen
- Donna Campbell
- Greg Abbott
- HB 1
- HB 1631
- Heartbeat Bill
- Jeff Leach
- Jonathan Stickland
- Matt Krause
- Mayes Middleton
- Planned Parenthood
- Property Taxes
- Red-Light Camera
- Religious Liberty
- Sarah Davis
- SB 2
- school finance reform
- Toni Rose
- Trent Ashby
McKenzie Taylor serves as Operations Manager and resident plate-spinner for The Texan. Previously, she worked as State Representative Kyle Biedermann’s Capitol Director during the 85th legislative session before moving to Fort Worth to manage Senator Konni Burton’s campaign. In her free time, you might find her enjoying dog memes, staring at mountains, or proctoring personality tests.