Exciting Inaugural Address, Gearing Up for the Work Ahead

January 21, 2023

Inaugural Ceremony for Governor Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

 On Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick were officially sworn in and took their oath of office. Constituents from all over the state gathered in Austin for a series of inaugural events. During the inaugural swearing in ceremony, we saw a glimpse at our top leaders’ legislative priorities for the 88th Session. The prominent priorities centered around property tax relief, border security, investment in our power grid and infrastructure, support of parental rights, school security and support of law enforcement.  

Both Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov Patrick highlighted the $33 billion budget surplus, stressing that those funds belong to taxpayers, not the government, and a priority will be to provide property tax relief. Days later, the first draft of the budget bill was filed in both chambers that includes $15 billion for property tax relief, including $3 billion to raise the residential homestead exemption from $40,000 to $70,000.  

Securing the border was also a top theme throughout both addresses. The filed budget includes $4.6 billion to continue current support for Operation Lone Star, the state-sponsored effort to secure our southern border. Texas will continue to fight human and drug trafficking at the border despite the lack of support from our federal government. 

Texas continues to be the fastest growing state in the nation. It is truly the best place to live, work and raise a family. Priorities will include investing in our infrastructure such as our power grid and improvements to ports and roads to keep up with the growing demands. The Lt. Governor emphasized the need for more dispatchable thermal generation to be built for increased reliability, which I couldn’t agree more with, so I look forward to those discussions during session. 

Parents being able to make decisions on where their child goes to school and support for improvements in our school security were also among the top priorities discussed at the inauguration. The base budget filed includes full funding for the Foundation School Program, including enrollment growth and $600 million to assist in safety initiatives at schools.  

Other priorities discussed included supporting our retired teachers, mental health and bolstering funding to our law enforcement, especially in rural communities. All of these priorities were evident in the budget bill filed with increased funding in these targeted areas.     

As you can see, the legislative agenda for the 88th Legislative Session is coming into focus. Next month, Governor Abbott will deliver his State of the State address where emergency items will be declared. The House and Senate will also announce committee assignments soon. And as a reminder, the Texas Constitution states that the first thirty days of session are devoted to filing bills and acting on emergency matters outlined by the Governor. Then during the succeeding thirty days, the Legislature can hold committee hearings on proposed legislation and act on those bills. 

To watch the inaugural ceremony click HERE. Lt. Gov Dan Patrick’s remarks begin at 37:25 and Governor Abbott’s remarks begin at 58:35.  

To read more about the highlights in the base budget click HERE.  

Happenings at the Capitol

Terry and I attending the Inauguration Ceremony for Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

Families from Southwest Christian School in Fort  Worth attending the inauguration and touring our capitol. 

I had the privilege of recognizing and welcoming the Texas Police Chiefs Association to our capitol on the Senate Floor. Later in the day, I met with the executive team and had some great discussions on legislation we are working on together. 

Fort Worth Police Chief Neil Noakes and I talked about legislative priorities. Hanging on the wall are my uniform badges from when I served in FWPD. 

The Israeli-American Council had their annual conference in Austin. We have worked together for many years to combat antisemitism and end BDS efforts against Israel. With my colleague Rep. Craig Goldman, we gave a VIP tour around the capitol.