6 bills to watch in the Texas Legislature in 2021

From marijuana and casino legalization to the George Floyd Act, here’s what to watch

Texas Capitol (Pixabay)

The Texas Legislature convened Tuesday for the first day of its 87th regular session.

Lawmakers from across the state descended on the Texas Capitol for what’s certain to be one of the most important and unique Legislature’s in recent memory, considering the ongoing pandemic, fallout from the deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol, vaccine distribution, international calls for police reform, redistricting and changes in the U.S. executive and legislative branches. Also at play will be new coronavirus safety protocols in place for lawmakers, press and activists, as well as the election of a new Texas House Speaker.

While the first few weeks of the Legislature are generally procedural, Monday’s revenue estimate and the imminent election of expected new House Speaker Dade Phelan will likely be the most impactful occurrences the first month.

Committee assignments will be announced toward the end of the month, and Governor Greg Abbott will lay out his priorities for the session. Known as emergency items, the agenda set by Abbott in a few weeks will be the only bills that can be considered by the full House or Senate until a March date triggers all bills into play.

Here, we’ll focus on 6 issues that might have legs this session.

George Floyd Act

Texas’ longest-serving woman and Black person in the history of the Texas Legislature, Rep. Senfronia Thompson, has a compilation of bills she’s introducing during the legislative session that deals with police reform called the George Floyd Act.

The bills dealing with excessive police force, chokeholds, revising qualified immunity, police identifying themselves, and arrests involving minor offenses, and an officer’s discipline records.

About the Authors: