Well, folks, the break is over – time to turn our eyes back to the pink dome, and get ready for the 83rd Legislative Session. Bill pre-filing began today, which means incumbent legislators are getting their top priorities in the hopper for consideration. This isn’t a comprehensive list, just a few things of note (good and bad) that will be worth watching. To view the whole list so far, click here. For today, I’m not going to offer detailed opinions on most of these, but on some of these I’m adding some context/notes.
House Bill 65 by Guillen – A bill changing some of the administration of standardized testing in K-12.
House Bill 69 by Lucio III – A bill creating a statewide ban on text-based communication while driving (includes email and instant messaging as well as texting).
House Bill 72 by Fletcher – A bill increasing the penalty for failure to render aid in a motor vehicle accident resulting in death to a second degree felony. (The jail term for a 2nd degree felony is 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000 – source Texas Penal Code)
House Bill 88 by Callegari – A bill limiting the growth rate of state spending to the rate of population plus inflation.
House Bill 90 by Thompson (Senfronia) – A bill creating civil penalties for forced prostitution.
House Bill 95 by White – A bill exempting school districts from certain unfunded state mandates.
House Bill 109 by Raymond – A bill allowing for local option elections to legalize or prohibit certain kinds of gambling. (Also filed – HJR 27 proposing state constitutional amendment for same thing; see also Senate Bill 55 by Zaffarini)
Senate Bill 11 by Nelson, et.al. – A bill requiring drug testing of state welfare recipients.
Senate Bill 62 by Nelson – A bill revising the bacterial meningitis vaccination mandate for college students.
Senate Bill 97 by Patrick – A bill restricting the distribution and sale of abortion-inducing drugs.
Senate Bill 99 by Patrick – A bill to restrict lobbying by former legislators.
Senate Bill 100 by Patrick – A bill to increase the margins tax exemption from $1 million to $5 million.
Senate Joint Resolution 6 by Ellis – A bill proposing a constitutional amendment to create the Texas Gaming Commission and expand legalized gambling in Texas.