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Capital Highlights: What’s happening around Texas this week

By Gary Borders

What to expect in legislative session

The 2023 Texas legislative session opened Jan. 10, with property taxes, gun control and the power grid expected to be among the top issues on the agenda.

The Texas Standard talked to political journalists Niki Griswold of the Austin American-Statesman and James Barragàn of the Texas Tribune to see what might be upcoming. 

Griswold predicts the “so-called culture war issue” could take center stage, with a number of bills already filed regarding the rights of transgender children and their parents, as well as battles over what books should be made available to children in the classroom and libraries. 

Barragan said the state’s predicted $27 billion surplus will attract a number of factions wanting a piece of that action. Gov. Greg Abbott has called for about half the surplus to be spent on property tax relief, while House Speaker Dade Phelan is pushing for more spending on infrastructure. 

Griswold pointed out that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wields considerable power in the Legislature and is keenly interested in more fixes to the state’s electric grid. 

The regular session will last 140 days, as set by the state constitution.

Gary Borders is a veteran award-winning Texas journalist. He published a number of community newspapers in Texas during a 30-year span, including in Longview, Fort Stockton, Nacogdoches and Cedar Park. Email: gborders@texaspress.com.

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