AUSTIN – The day before the 85th legislative session gavels in, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced he'll run again for his post.
The announcement came before the session, he said, to squash rumors he may run against Greg Abbott for the governor's office.
"We don't need that distraction during the session,” Patrick said. “Greg Abbott and I are allies.”
Patrick's top priorities for the state this legislative session include reducing property taxes and school choice.
“No one should be forced to send their child to a failing school,” he said. “We’re starting to see some grades in some schools that are saying 'Wow, we got a D.' Well, if you’re a parent, you don’t want your kid to go to a D school.”
Patrick said he would also like to provide bulletproof vests that can absorb a rifle round to every patrol officer in the state.
Then there's Senate Bill 6, the so-called ‘bathroom bill.’
"This is not something I started,” Patrick said. “It’s not a fight the Republicans wanted. The left started this. The left is very clever about pushing an issue to try to draw the Republicans into a fight. And very often, you just stay away from the issue, but this is an important issue.”
The bill aims to define who can use which public restrooms and allows businesses to create their own bathroom policies.
Critics argue it discriminates against transgender people.
"We’re not discriminating against a person who is a true transgendered person,” Patrick countered. “We’re trying to stop sexual predators from using that as an excuse to go into the bathrooms.”
There is also the concern of lost revenue for Texas should the Lone Star State see a repeat of what happened in North Carolina.
The NCAA pulled a basketball tournament from the state after lawmakers there passed their own version of a bathroom bill.
The NCAA Men's Final Four is slated to take place in San Antonio in 2018.
“Our bill is different than the North Carolina bill,” said Patrick. “Our bill says 'based on your current birth certificate' so if you’re a true transgendered person and you’ve gone to court and you’ve made the case and you get your birth certificate changed, there is no discrimination.”
The state’s 85th legislative session gavels in Tuesday at noon.