Gov. Greg Abbott will lay out his agenda for the 85th legislative session on Tuesday, prioritizing which issues deserve the most attention from state lawmakers, who are working with a smaller two-year budget. Abbott has kept relatively quiet ahead of his speech — it’s unclear how many items he plans to tackle and what items he considers the most pressing.
But there are several issues facing the state, and some personal endeavors, on Abbott’s radar: establishing a convention of states, outlawing “sanctuary cities,” fixing Texas’ troubled child protective services system and implementing “school choice” – a voucher program that would help parents pay for private schools with state tax dollars. Abbott joined Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at a rally in support of these school funding changes at the state Capitol last week.
The governor is not expected to take a new position on Senate Bill 6, also known as the “bathroom bill.” Patrick strongly championed the bill, which would require Texans to use public bathrooms that coincide with their gender at birth rather than their chosen identity. Critics say the bill would adversely affect people who are transgender. Abbott has been largely neutral on the legislation.
Tuesday’s speech could likely be Abbott’s final policy push before he switches gears to his 2018 re-election campaign.