The regular session of the Texas Legislature has ended and several of you have asked for my thoughts on it, for whatever they are worth at this point. Based solely on what was actually accomplished in the 140-day regular session I would score it at about a C. But the Governor has already called for a special session and there will likely be more to follow on into the summer and the final score could move one way or the other. So we’ll see what can be added, and there are some pretty big items left to deal with, including property tax relief, border security, and my highest priority, comprehensive school choice, which is hanging by a thread with a glimmer of hope that the Governor, who has been a stalwart on it, can bring the House to send him a bill he is willing to sign so as to convene a conference on it with the Senate bill.
As for leadership, Lt. Gov. Patrick had identified 30 priorities for the Senate going into the session and sent the House a Senate bill on almost every one of them with plenty of time to get them approved and sent to Gov. Abbott. Many of them died for lack of action or “slow walking” in the House. So the accountability for the failure to get some Republican priorities fully addressed in this session is pretty apparent.
One additional point: To me, what may prove to be the most important bill to come out of this session is SB 17, the bill to abolish the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) bureaucracy and related programs from Texas public higher education. I have previously written about the insidious nature of DEI, the agenda of which is disastrous for free expression, academic integrity, and the very notion of a university, and that was fast becoming the organizing principle of the leading institutions in Texas. It was shameful that this action had to be taken by the legislature and not through self correction by the institutions, but good that it’s done and that Texas is leading in this “counter-revolution” in higher education.