LEGISLATURE CONVENES 86TH SESSION
The 86th Texas Legislature opened on Tuesday with the usual pomp and circumstance and a few noticeable changes.
As families and well-wishers crowded the chamber, Governor Greg Abbott welcomed the new legislators. Abbott was re-elected in November and will be inaugurated on January 15.
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick will also be inaugurated next week but was not there to open the Senate’s session because of a meeting at the White House.
On the House side, a new Speaker was elected in the first time in a decade. Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) was elected unanimously to succeed Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), who announced his retirement late in 2017.
In his acceptance speech, Bonnen named school finance as his top priority, along with school safety, combating human trafficking, and property tax reform.
While Democrats made gains in the 2018 election, Republicans continue to control each chamber. The GOP holds 19 of 31 seats in the Senate and 83 of 150 seats in the House with three vacancies. All statewide offices are still held by Republicans.