Overview of 2019 Texas legislative session

Overview of 2019 Texas legislative session

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Texas lawmakers finished the 86th legislative session Monday after 140 days. Fourteen key bills are now on Gov. Abbott's desk, and political leaders are claiming victory for their work this session. One of the top priorities this session, school finance reform, was completed.

About $2 billion of the $6 billion budget will go towards teacher pay raises. 

Another key win for legislators was the passage of Senate Bill 2, the Texas Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act.

It will require local governments to gain voter approval before increasing property tax revenues by more than 3.5%.

Other marquee bills expected to become law involve reform for school safety, repealing the driver responsibility program, raising the smoking age to 21, defunding abortion providers, and doubling the civil statute of limitations for child sexual abusers.

There will not be a change in the state's sales tax.

It is one of the several big proposals that fell flat in votes or missed deadlines.

The tax swap would have increased the sales tax by one percent to suppress property taxes even more. 

Gov. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen held a press conference in January to gain support for this bill.

It failed to pass on May 7, and is now tabled until 2021.

Other bills shut down include reducing marijuana penalties, banning electric scooters on sidewalks, and protecting intellectually disabled felons from the death penalty.

Gov. Abbott has until June 16 to sign or veto the passed bills. If signed, most of the new laws will take effect September 1.

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