AUSTIN — On Tuesday, the 86th Texas Legislative Session begins.
Lawmakers will be sworn into office on Tuesday morning and predictions are they will focus on meat-and-potato issues rather than partisan politics.
Members of the House of Representatives will have to get down to business on the first day, electing a new Speaker of the House since San Antonio Republican Joe Straus retired. But the process should move quickly since Speaker Pro-Tem Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) announced in November that he has enough votes to secure the role.
During a brief news conference, Bonnen said one of the top priorities of the House will be to fix the state's school finance system.
Lowering property taxes for Texas homeowners is the big focus of the Senate and the Governor.
The 2017 session was filled with contentious moments and controversial bills. Perhaps the most controversial was the bathroom bill, but Ross Ramsey, Executive Editor and Co-Founder of The Texas Tribune, thinks lawmakers probably won't focus on it.
"I think it will probably get filed. I don't think there's as much appetite for it this time as there was last time," Ramsey said. "The battles in the legislature last time had a lot to do with waiving partisan flags and with picking particular social issues that were strong in Republican or Democratic primaries. So, in some ways, they were using the session to campaign either for statewide office or for legislative office. This time, I think largely because of the kind of partisan noise that we're getting out of Washington and have been getting out of Washington for a couple of years, state legislators in Texas are looking at this and saying, 'You know, we got a lot of work to do, voters don't need anymore noise out of us, let's keep our heads down and get to work.' That's how we start. We'll see how we finish."
You can watch more of Ramsey's predictions for the 86th Legislative Session during this week's episode of Texas This Week, which will air Sunday morning at 8:40 a.m. during KVUE News Weekend Daybreak.