It's all over.
With a banging of the gavel in the Texas House of Representatives Sunday night and the declaration from Speaker Dennis Bonnen 'The Texas House of Representatives, the 86th regular session, stands adjourned sine die. Great session, members," The 2019 session of the Texas Leglislature came to a calm end, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
There was none of the frantic last minute horse trading and maniacal voting on bills that we have seen in previous sessions, because the three major priorities of the session, education reform, including teacher pay raises, caps against rising property taxes, and a biennial budget to run through August of 2021, were all approved over the weekend.
Here's a list of some of the major things the 2019 Session did...and did not...accomplish:
A biennial budget, including funding for Hurricane Harvey recovery
A groundbreaking bill designed to end surprise 'balance bills' from doctors and hospitals.
A major education reform bill which provides $2 billion for salary increases for teachers and other school professionals, funds full day Pre-K classes, and begins to wean the state off the 'Robin Hood' system of transferring property wealth from rich to por districts, by increasing state aid to education.
A measure limiting the amount that local property taxes can rise each year to 3.5% for cities and counties, 2.5% for school districts. There is also funding in the education plan to begin to 'buy down' local property tax rates, starting in 2020.
The 'Save Chick-fil-A bill,' which bans local governments from discriminating against companies on the bases of contributions made by the corporation and its officers. The bill also authorizes the Texas Attorney General to sue the City of San Antonio for denying the fast food chain a spot in the airport concessions agreement.
A major school safety bill which will completely change the way schools look and are constructed. The bill includes money for everything from metal detectors to a requirement that the Texas Education Agency come up with a standard architectural design for public school buildings with an emphasis on safety. The bill also includes funding for more guidance counselors, and mental health testing for students.
Banning red light cameras, but allowing cities which already operate them to keep them up until their contracts with the private companies that operate them to expire.
Raising the minimum age to buy cigarettes and e-cigs to 21, except for active duty members of the U.S. miltiary.
A bill to crack down on protests against oil and gas pipelines by criminalizing 'trespassing in a sensitive area.'
The 'Born Alive' bill which will require doctors under pain of prison to provide medical care to the survivors of bungled abortions.
All citizens who own guns can carry them without a permit for a week following a declared natural disaster.
Repealing the hated Driver Responsibility Program, which has cost the licenses of 1.3 million Texans, not for bad driving, but for being poor.
Banning cities and counties from entering into contracts with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers for any services whatsoever, from sex ed to health clinics.
The bill to stop the semi-annual clock changing, and have Texas go to either permanent standard time or permanent Daylight Time, depending on the results of a public vote.
A bill that would have overturned San Antonio's ordinance mandating that private employers provide sick pay to their workers.
A bill that would have banned the removal or demolition of Confederate monuments, as well as the Alamo Cenotaph.
A measure that would have made simple possession of marijuana a Class C misdemeanor, like a traffic ticket.
The propsoal that would have raised the sales tax as a way to 'buy down' local property tax rates (although there is talk that a consumption tax could be on the table in the interim to pay for the property tax cuts called for in the education bill)
A bill that would have given the responsibility for coming up with statewide regulations of electric scooters to the state, stripping that authority from local governments.
Legislation to expand eminent domain rights, in light of new property demands from high speed rail systems.