Gov. Greg Abbott gave his State of the State address on the House floor on Tuesday, listing his legislative priorities for the 86th session.

These legislative priorities, also known as emergency items, are issues that the legislature will be able to take up sooner than what is normally allowed. 

The legislature is normally not allowed, per the Texas Constitution, to pass any bills during the first 60 days of the session. By declaring certain issues as emergency items, Gov. Abbott allows the legislature to pass bills that are listed as emergency items.

Joined by members of both the Senate and the House, Gov. Abbott stated his top three priorities for this session as school finance reform, property tax relief and teacher pay. 

These priorities are in line with the priorities of House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

Talking about school finance reform, Abbott stated, “Rarely has Texas witnessed such a bipartisan and bicameral support for an issue this substantial this early in a session.”

Abbott’s other legislative priorities include school safety, expanding mental health programs and improving response to natural disasters. 

Lt. Gov. Patrick already proposed a bill that would give all Texas teachers a $5,000 pay raise, and Sen. Jane Nelson of Flower Mound filed a bill to improve access to mental health services and expand mental health research. 

Because both of these issues are on Gov. Abbott’s list of emergency items, members can now begin passing related legislation.  

J.M. Lozano is the State Representative for District 43. Readers may contact him at his Austin office at (512) 463-0463.

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