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Texas prefiling bills crosses 700 mark | Many focus on voting, marijuana and COVID-19

The state legislative session next year convenes on Jan. 12, but already lawmakers have hundreds of bills to discuss.

AUSTIN, Texas — Looking over the past few Texas legislative sessions, we saw hundreds of bills filed during the first week of prefiling. This year, the first few days outpaced the last two regular sessions.

Many topics repeat, such as marijuana regulations and health care. This year, the lawmakers have a new subject – COVID-19.

Some COVID-19-related bills do not name the virus in their language, but are designed to address a similar health emergency.

House Bill 173 looks to create an “Emergency Powers Board.”

The pandemic forced more state employees to work from home. House Bill 391 wants some state employees to have that option going forward.

If you look at what was on the minds of folks last session, the school finance bill, HB 3, was the top topic. Texas passed a school finance bill in 2019, and some bills this session look to spend more of that money on technology.

Marijuana regulation drew a dozen prefilings, including bills and joint resolutions.

Teacher salary ranked high in attention last session. It’s back for discussion this session.

As we enter into a new presidential term, the State has a lot of bills looking beyond it to the next election. Voting bills HB 111, HB 124 and SB 98 include making voting registration automatic with any driver’s license change.

Other bills, HB 76, HB 221, HB 400, SB 95, HB 46 and HB 61, regard early voting and mail-in ballot changes. Back for another discussion, HB 110, HB 160, HB 230 and SB 100 address what kind of identification is needed next time we vote.

This upcoming session will include a change in districts. Last time lines were drawn was after the 2010 census. Several bills, HB 282, HB 63, HB 64 and HB 352, look to draw some new lines. 

Regular sessions tend to draw nearly 11,000 bills. Not quite half of those bills get passed.

The 87th Legislative Session convenes at noon on Jan. 12. The 60-day filing deadline will be March 12.


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