Texas Legislature to convene with list of big issues to tackle

AUSTIN — The 86th Texas Legislature convenes Jan. 8 as the partial shutdown of the federal government that began Dec. 22 enters a third week.

As always, lawmakers’ priorities will be the writing of a two-year state budget and deciding how to fund it.

In the 140 days of the regular session, they also will consider public education funding, property tax reform, health care, public safety, transportation, water and a host of other issues.

After the oath of office is administered by Texas’ new Secretary of State David Whitley, the first order of business for the 150-member Texas House of Representatives will be to elect a new speaker to succeed Joe Straus, the San Antonio Republican who presided over the body for five consecutive two-year terms.

In the fall, Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, eventually secured more than 76 pledges from fellow House members, the minimum number needed to win the race for speaker.


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