With the 3rd special session underway, we wanted to update you on the work of the Legislative Priorities Committee.

We have been watching and advocating for bills that meet our criteria, as two of the topics requested by Governor Abbott align with our Priorities on “Secure the Border and Protect Texans” as well as “Parental Rights and Educational Freedom.” At this time we have not approved any bills, but we continue to work with our elected officials and are getting good results.

We want to thank Rep. Brian Harrison for his tireless efforts advocating for medical freedom. We were very pleased to see that Gov. Abbott added the issues to the call and attributed the addition to Rep. Harrison’s work. We also want to thank Sen. Middleton for carrying this legislation in the Senate.

All the legislative activity thus far has been in the Senate, where our Senate GOP majority has passed 5 of the 6 items on the call. The only item left for the Senate is Colony Ridge. They have passed the following bills:

SB1 Education Savings Accounts – Provides eligible students an $8,000 ESA per year to use for tuition or fees for a private school, purchase of textbooks, instructional materials, or uniforms, costs for academic assessments, and fees for private tutoring or transportation. The program will be administered by the Comptroller’s office. The Senate passed a similar version of this bill during the regular session.

SB2 School Finance – Provides one-time teacher retention payments for 2023-2024, expands eligibility under the Teacher Incentive Allotment so that at least 50% of teachers can earn designations that come with additional pay, and increases the basic allotment by $75 per student and doubles the per-student school safety allotment from $10 to $20 and doubles the per-campus allotment from $15,000 to $30,000.

SB4 Border Security – Provides mandatory minimum sentences for the operation of stash houses and for human smuggling and increases penalties for these crimes committed during a disaster declaration. It passed the Senate 29-2 in a broad bipartisan vote. It also has passed the Senate three times before and been killed in the House.

SB7 Medical Freedom – Prohibits private employers from requiring employees and contractors in Texas to get a COVID-19 vaccine. A bill dealing with this topic also passed the Senate during the regular session but was killed in the House.

SB11 Border Security – Creates a new state crime for entering Texas illegally and authorizes Texas law enforcement to arrest and prosecute all people who cross the border illegally anywhere in Texas. This is the third time the Senate has passed this bill.

After a week of waiting, Chairman Todd Hunter has finally gotten the House to work. He scheduled the first House committee meeting of the special session for Monday morning, where they will be taking up the Senate bills on border security and medical freedom.

Action Items:
Call your House member and tell them to get to work! Find who represents you and their contact information here.

Finally, I have a quick personal note. As many of you know, I am fighting a personal health battle, and I want to thank those of you who have been praying for me. What I am learning is that our saving faith in Jesus and prayer are the most important. Our next greatest weapon against the evil in this world is strong families, and we must protect and love them fiercely.

I want to thank the LP Committee for standing by me and working to continue our advocacy on the Legislative Priorities. It is such an honor to stand with Texas Republicans all across the state in these especially challenging times. Our Texas Republican Party principles are best for all citizens, regardless of political affiliation, and we must continue to advance them without compromise. The goodness and righteousness of God will ultimately prevail.

For God and Texas,

Jill Glover
Chair, SREC Legislative Priorities Committee

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