AUSTIN – Lawmakers in Texas got to work Monday morning.
It's the unofficial launch of the 85th Texas Legislative session, which begins in earnest in January. On the first Monday following the November general election, the pre-filing stage for bills began. A flurry of lawmakers' assistants gathered outside the clerk's office inside the State Capitol.
The Texas Tribune reported more than 400 bills were pre-filed in the first five hours of pre-filing. The legislative session officially begins Jan. 10.
Below is an interactive Prezi on how a bill becomes a law in Texas, along with other interesting tidbits on the life cycle of a bill.
One of the more notable local bills that was pre-filed was David’s Law, which is designed to identify and discourage those who target minors through school media and menacing electronic messaging.
David Molak took his own life at the age of 16 after being harassed and bullied online.
Other notable bills that were pre-filed include:
- A bill that revises the current charge of improper relationship between educator and student. The current charge only relates to students on the campus where the educator works, or is involved in an event sponsored by the school district.
- A bill which would allow first responders to carry firearms on duty.
- A bill that would make it a statewide crime to use a smart phone while driving.
- A bill that would eliminate all local regulations on taxis, limousines and ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft. The bill wants to level the playing field for everyone in the market.
- A bill that would require health care facilities, including abortion clinics, to ensure that all fetal remains are buried or cremated.
- A bill that proposes eliminating an exception that allows the procedure for fetuses with a severe and irreversible abnormality.
- A bill that would effectively outlaw any red light camera or speed camera monitoring systems in the state of Texas.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced his top 10 list of priorities he'll be seeking in 2017. They include property tax reform, school choice, sanctuary cities, and photo voter ID.
On property taxes, Patrick said in an announcement that 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. He said, "This must change."
On sanctuary cities, Patrick wrote that no city in Texas should be allowed to ignore the law. He wants to end the practice of sanctuary cities "once and for all."
Rounding oout his list included a Women's Privacy Act, which would guarantee privacy in public restrooms, showers and locker rooms; implementing a spending cap to ensure Texas government lives within its means; and a bill on hailstorm lawsuit reform.