What’s on the Agenda for Texas’ 85th Legislature?

Today’s the first day of bill-filing for the 85th Legislature, which convenes on January 10.

By Rhonda FanningNovember 14, 2016 7:29 am

It’s the first day for Texas lawmakers to file bills for the upcoming session at the Statehouse. Competing for the attention and votes of state lawmakers are issues of education funding and safety for the most vulnerable Texans – foster kids.

Lauren McGaughy, who’ll be covering the 85th Legislature for the Dallas Morning News, says bill filers often “front-load” so a lot of bills are filed on the first day.

“Sometimes when a lawmaker wants to have ‘dibs’ on an issue, they’ll try to file the first bill on it,” she says. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the first one considered, but they want to get out ahead and say, ‘This is something I want to have my name attached to.'”

Lawmakers can file bills up until session or during the beginning part of session. They’re numbered in the order they’re filed and HB 1 is always the budget, McGaughy says. Lawmakers prefer to have a bill that’s higher up on the list – meaning, a bill with lower number – but that number doesn’t guarantee the bill will be heard.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s priorities for this legislative session

– What may happen with the so-called “bathroom bills” that regulate facilities in schools and on public campuses

– How things at the Texas-level may shift under a Trump administration