Ask Your State Representative: Texas Legislature Is Taking Off

Lynn Stucky, Texas State Representative

Watching a legislative session is like watching a space shuttle launch. After months of watching sparks fly and clouds of smoke billowing outward, the 88th Texas Legislature is about to leave the launch pad. When the final constitutional coupling comes loose on March 10, everyone in Austin will need to hold on tight as this rocket ship takes off toward Sine Die.

House Committees were assigned in mid-February and spent the last two weeks getting organized as we prepare to start holding public hearings on legislation. The Texas Constitution prohibits the legislature from bringing any policies to the House Floor except for the items listed by Governor Abbott as Emergency Items. More on those in a bit.

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have already begun work pouring over the next budget. My focus on the Article II subcommittee is on how the state will spend nearly 34% of the budget on health care issues. That is only slightly less than the nearly 40% of the budget that will go toward public education and higher education in Texas for the next two years.

Article II will take on several important funding priorities this session, including the landmark Mental Health reform funding for more hospitals and more beds. The Health and Human Services Commission has about 20,000 employees working at state hospitals and state-supported living centers like the one in Denton. The ongoing discussion over Medicaid expansion is an important part of making sure that Texans who are truly in need have access to care.

The budget contains a lot of clues about legislation that will be proposed for programs, such as expanding the Healthy Texas Women, Alternatives to Abortion, and Nurse-Family Program, which helps new mothers learn the skills to raise healthy children. Larger priorities, such as property tax relief, are slated to be almost $18 billion total between proposals to buy down local school taxes and the Lt. Governor’s priority to increase homestead exemptions from $40,000 to $70,000.

As we approach the March 10 deadline to file bills—also the 60-day deadline to hear bills—we will likely see some of the larger items start to move. Those include Governor Greg Abbott’s seven emergency items:

* Strengthening Border Security

* Property Tax Relief

* School Choice

* School Safety

* Addressing the Fentanyl Crisis

* Ending COVID-19 Mandates

* Ending Revolving Door Bail Policies

These and other essential issues will begin to be open to public debate as committees have bills referred to them and hearing notices are posted. To follow House Committees, go to There you will find links to each committee, public postings on which bills will be heard, and links to watch the committee hearings and House Floor proceedings.

Anyone wishing to submit written comments to a committee may also do so at the House website. I encourage you to engage in the issues that are most important to you. To notify my office where you stand on a specific bill, send an email to [email protected] or call 512-463-0582.