The Back MicThe Back Mic: ‘State of the State’ Address Preview, Legislature Adjourns Until February 9, Texas Projected to Gain 3 Congressional Seats

This week — here’s a look at what happened in Texas politics during the final week of January.
January 29, 2021
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Governor Abbott to Give “State of the State” Next Week

The biennial “State of the State” address delivered by the governor will be given on Monday, February 1 at 7 p.m. 

During the address, Governor Abbott will lay out in more detail his priorities and expectations for this legislative session.

Abbott said in a release, “We are at a pivotal moment in our state’s history, and this televised address is an occasion for every Texan to celebrate our state’s exceptionalism and recognize our shared goal for an even better Texas.”

“Despite the challenges that America has endured over the past year, Texas remains a leader for the rest of the nation, and we have a duty to keep it that way,” the governor continued. “The 87th Legislative Session is an opportunity for the Legislature and statewide leaders to solve the challenges facing our state on behalf of every Texan. Working together to serve the people of Texas, we will put the Lone Star State on a path towards a healthier, safer, freer, and more prosperous future for all.”

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Abbott unveiled last week more details of his public safety agenda for the session which includes financial penalties for cities that “defund their police” and bail reform. On the legislature’s plate will also be the fiscal unease surrounding the state’s budget and redistricting.

Before the 2019 session, Abbott’s address spotlighted school finance, school safety, property tax reform, and Hurricane Harvey relief.

Texas House and Senate Adjourn Until February 9

Both chambers of the Texas legislature adjourned again this week after nearly two weeks of adjournment since the first couple of days of the convening.

The bodies are each constitutionally prohibited from considering legislation until after 60 days into the session. And while committee assignments are official in the Senate, the House chairmanships have yet to be announced. With the House and Senate chamber rules already established and the lack of the usual early-session visitors to be recognized by resolution, lawmakers aren’t left with much to do.

The bodies will reconvene on February 9.

Three New Congressional Seats on the Table for Texas’ Redistricting

At the first Senate Redistricting Committee hearings this week, the state’s demographer projected Texas would gain three additional congressional seats due to population increases.

The number of members in the U.S. House of Representatives is locked at 435, and so additions to one’s state’s delegation mean subtractions from another state. Among those losing seats are California and New York.

Texas’ population, meanwhile, is projected to clock in around 29.4 million — a nearly 17 percent increase from the 2010 census. The demographer also increased the ideal senate district population approximately by 80,000. Texas has a constitutionally set 31 senate districts.

The redistricting fight will be on full display this legislative session. Republicans, who preserved their majority, look to solidify their staying power in the decennial political fight.

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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.