What are the Top 25 Legislative Priorities for 2017 in Texas?

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick released this month his top 25 legislative priorities for the upcoming session.  Several of these priorities have a specific tech component and others will likely have a significant impact on the broader tenor of debate in the upcoming legislative session Texas.  These priorities include:

SB 1 – 2017 Budget – “the FY 18-19 Budget Estimate is not yet available, but we will pass a balanced budget that will strengthen the Texas economy and assure that it retains its global competitiveness.”

SB 2 – Property Tax Reform – “Texans pay the sixth highest property taxes in the nation and the high rates are taxing people out of their homes and hampering business growth. This must change.”

SB 3 – School Choice – “There is broad support for legislation to ensure that every parent has the option to send their child to the school they believe is best for them.”

SB 4 – Sanctuary Cities – “No city in Texas should be allowed to ignore the law. We will end this practice once and for all this session.”

SB 5 – Photo Voter ID – “Nothing is more critical to our democracy than the integrity of the voting process. Photo Voter ID is essential.”

SB 6 – Women's Privacy Act – “A majority of Texans in both political parties and in every ethnic and demographic group believe that women and girls should have privacy and safety in their restrooms, showers and locker rooms. Unfortunately, legislation is necessary to assure that they do.”

SB 7 – Inappropriate Teacher-Student Relationships – "Pass the Trash” – “With the rapid increase in the number of inappropriate teacher-student relationships, legislation is needed to strengthen the reporting and training requirements, and establish appropriate penalties. Priority must be given to protecting our students at every level of the school system.”

SB 8 – Fetal Tissue/Partial Birth Abortion – “We will continue to fight to protect the dignity and sanctity of life by increasing criminal penalties for buying or selling human fetal tissue, among other protections, and we will ban partial birth abortion in Texas.”

SB 9 – Spending Cap – “We will continue to fight to strengthen the state spending limit so our government lives within its means.”

SB 10 – Hailstorm Lawsuit Reform – “We will rein in the hailstorm lawsuit abuse that is damaging local economies around our state.”

SB 11 – DFPS Child Protection Bill – “SB 11 will strengthen our ability to protect Texas children by enhancing investigations to reduce abuse and neglect and ensure child safety, addressing access to appropriate treatment and placement options, improving foster care contract oversight and accountability, and strengthening adoptions.”

SB 12 – Protective Vests for Police – “Texas has over 77,000 licensed law enforcement officers and our state has lost more law enforcement officers in the line of duty than any state in America. SB 12 will ensure that the safety of police officers across the state is a top priority, including helping provide police with protective vests capable of stopping high-caliber bullets. Some of the officers killed in the deadly Dallas sniper ambush earlier this year had bullet-proof vests that were ineffective against high-caliber rounds.”

SB 13 – Union Dues – “SB 13 will ensure taxpayer funds are not used to support the collection of union dues.”

SB 14 – Ethics Reform – “SB 14 will strengthen Texas ethics laws, and ensure government officials and employees are held to high standards that inspire the public's confidence in a transparent and ethically principled government.”

SB 15 – First Responder Property Tax Relief – “SB 15 will create a homestead tax exemption for the surviving spouse of a first responder killed in the line of duty. The bill will include spouses of previously deceased responders.”

SB 16 – License to Carry Fee Reform – “SB 16 will continue to support 2nd Amendment rights by making lawful carry more affordable for the average law abiding citizen. Texas currently has one of the highest License to Carry fees in the country, and we will fix that.”

SB 17 – Franchise Tax Reduction – “SB 17 will continue to explore phase-out options of the franchise tax.”

SB 18 – Tuition Set-Asides – “SB 18 will stop Texas families from being forced to subsidize college costs for others.”

SB 19 – Tuition Reform – “The state has increased funding for higher education, but tuition and fees have continued to rise. Taxpayers must be assured they are getting a quality education at a cost they can afford. SB 19 will prevent tuition and fees from continuing to outpace what hardworking Texans earn.”

SB 20 – Prohibiting Abortion Insurance Coverage – “It's imperative that we continue to fight for life and for those who do not have a voice. SB 20 will protect Texans from being forced to pay for someone else's decision to end an innocent life.”

SB 21 – Convention of States – “I support the efforts of Governor Greg Abbott in adopting a call for an Article V “Convention of States” to limit the power of the federal government.”

SB 22 – Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) – “By targeting workforce-ready partnerships between K-12, higher education and industry, we will continue to improve our workforce and prepare students to be successful in today’s competitive and rapidly changing economy.”

SB 23 – E-Verify – “I will continue the efforts of the Texas Legislature in the electronic verification of employment authorization. This will ensure that individuals employed by state partners are also authorized for employment.”

SB 24 – Religious Liberty – Sermon Safeguard – “The Senate will continue to protect the most fundamental First Amendment religious liberty rights by protecting pastors from forced testimony and shielding sermons from government subpoena power.”

SB 25 – Wrongful Birth – “The Senate will continue to fight to protect and value the lives of children born with disabilities by prohibiting this cause of action in Texas.”

For more information, please contact Sarah Matz at smatz@comptia.org.


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