The 2019 legislative session
6/23/2019, 11:45 p.m.
The Texas Tribune
Texas’ top political leaders wrapped the 2019 session of the Texas Legislature with an air of accomplishment. They passed two major pieces of legislation that they had been working toward for years – a finance boost and a bill aimed at slowing the growth of property taxes.
But there were some key failures too, most notably a sales tax increase that would have allowed lawmakers to lower property taxes even more. That measure died due to lack of support. Many others died due to lack of time or a procedural obstruction by an opponent.
The session ended May 27, so time has run out for proposed bills. The deadline for Abbot to sign or veto bills was June 16. Here’s a look at how 25 of the most notable bills turned out:
- Signed into law
HB 1631: Signed June 3
Though the ban for red-light cameras monitoring goes into effect immediately, the devices could still linger in some communities for a few more years, as the bill only prevents cities from renewing their current contracts with vendors.
SB 11: Signed June 6
In the first session since 10 people were fatally shot at Santa Fe High School, lawmakers wrote this school safety measure that will strengthen mental health initiatives in schools, require classrooms to have access to a telephone or other electronic communication, and create teams that identify potentially dangerous students. The bill was amended in the House to include the creation of a Texas Mental Health Consortium – originally part of SB 10, which died hours earlier on a technicality.
Raising the smoking age
SB 21: Signed June 7
This measure will raise the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21, except for military personnel.
Defunding abortion providers
SB 22: Signed June 7
This measure will prohibit state and local governments from partnering with agencies that perform abortions, even if they contract for services not related to the procedure.
Teacher pension fix
SB 12: Signed June 9
This bill will shore up the teacher pension fund in Texas. It will increase state contributions and give retirees a one-time additional check.
SB 1978: Signed June 10
Known by supporters as the “Save Chick-fil-A Bill,” this proposal will prevent government entities from taking adverse action against people or businesses based on their religion. But some members of the LGBTQ community fear it would be a license to discriminate.
School finance reform
HB 3: Signed June 11
This bill is a complete overhaul of Texas public school finance. It aims to increase per-student funding, expand pre-K offerings and lessen the state’s reliance on “Robin Hood” payments from wealthier schools. The measure also includes pay raises for veteran teachers and other school employees.
Property tax reform
SB 2: Signed June 12
This bill, a top priority of Texas’ three main political leaders, will require voter approval when local governments want to increase their property tax revenues by more than 3.5%.
Creating a state flood infrastructure fund