Abbott Gives Legislature Marching Orders; Lays Out Crucial Agenda
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott spelled out six critical items that needed to be tackled immediately during his first State of the State address on Tuesday. Those agenda items ranged from fixing Texas’ school finance system to funding border security at the highest level in the state’s history. These items are actual bills that Abbott has assigned to various lawmakers and is hoping to have fast tracked through the legislative process.
He began his speech by reaching across the aisle on the issue of reforming Texas’ school finance system. “It is time to put school finance litigation behind us, it is time to stop fighting about school finance and it is time to start fixing our schools to make them better for our students,” said Abbott.
Abbott also declared that bills that added more funding for transportation, higher education and veterans’ affairs would be issued as emergency items. He labeled border security as one of those stressed upon items and told lawmakers he wanted to add 500 more Department of Public Safety troopers to the border, but until that plan was in place, the National Guard would have to remain in the Rio Grande Valley.
“The reality is that the DPS could not recruit, train and deploy 500 troopers overnight. That’s why I met with the commanding general of the Texas National Guard and the director for the Texas Department of Public Safety and I ordered them, as their commander-in-chief, to remain on the border until my border security plan is implemented,” Abbott told the two legislative bodies.
The governor, making his first State of the State address, said his office had identified a funding source that would keep the National Guard on the border until the legislature approved his border security package. He also stressed the need for Texas to become the 45th state to allow gun owners with concealed carry licenses to openly carry their handguns.
Significantly, two of the more prominent items that Abbott did not emphasize as critical items for lawmakers, were a repeal of the in-state tuition program for immigrants and legalizing a concealed carry of a handgun on a college campus.