The 82nd Legislative Session, followed by a Special Session, ended on June 29, with conservatives having accomplished several major goals.
One of the biggest challenges Republicans faced was the daunting task of balancing the state budget without increasing taxes. Not only was this accomplished, but it was done while still preserving $6.5 billion in the state’s Rainy Day Fund. In addition, $ 15.2 billion was cut from previous biennium expenditures; the small business tax exemption for businesses with annual revenues under $ 1 million was extended; and the budget for border security was doubled to $ 219.5 million.
In a resounding victory for Texans and their pleas for increased ballot security, Voter ID legislation was passed which requires a valid photo ID in order to vote.
In an effort to further reduce frivolous lawsuits, the Legislature passed “Loser Pays” legislation, which will reduce meritless litigation and allow for cases to be resolved more quickly.
On the Pro-Family/Pro-Life front, legislation requiring sonograms before abortions was passed as well as legislation to prohibit the use of tax dollars for abortions.
Texans’ 2nd Amendment Rights were strengthened with the passage of legislation extending gun owners the right to store a gun in their car while parked in employer parking lots.
For the first time in 20 years, the House and Senate redistricting maps were passed during the regular session, as well as new U.S. Congressional and State Board of Education maps.
While there were a few disappointments, including the failure to pass a ban on Sanctuary Cities and a bill to ban invasive pat-downs at Texas airports, the session was an overall success for Texas Republicans.