85th Legislative Session begins Tuesday

A day ahead of the 85th Legislative Session, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced the “biennial revenue estimate” -- it's the amount of revenue the Legislature can spend during the 2018-2019 fiscal period.

"We estimate that State revenue available spending will be $104.9 Billion," Hegar said.

And that's a pretty big decrease from the last session that kicked off in January 2015

"We estimate the available general revenue related funds will be $113 Billion," Hegar said at the same press conference in 2015.

Apparently low oil and gas prices played a part in the lower figure this time.

"Severance taxes have come in well below as oil and gas prices have dropped lower and stayed lower for longer than stayed lower for longer than we anticipated as many other forecasters expected as well," Hegar said.

Some of the hot-button bills lawmakers are tackling this session are a statewide texting-while-driving ban.  Yes, we already have this in Austin but Texas is one of only 4 states that don't already have a statewide law.

We can't have a legislative session without some gun talk: State Rep. Jonathan Stickland has filed his Constitutional Carry bill again, basically meaning no-license required.

On the other side of the aisle, State Rep. Donna Howard wants to change "Campus Carry" so public universities can decide on their own whether to allow concealed weapons on campus.

And Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick says the Texas Privacy Act is a line in the sand against political correctness.
               
If it becomes law, in government buildings and public schools, a person will use the restroom based on the gender listed on their birth certificate.

Speaking of Dan Patrick -- he's sick of the rumors about what he's doing next.  He held a press conference Monday morning just to kill the speculation that he's joining Trump's administration, seeking Ted Cruz's seat in the U.S. Senate or running against Greg Abbott for Governor.

"I want these stories to end.  And that's the reason for the press conference today.  We have an important session coming up.  We just received the budget revenue estimate.  The numbers are below last year's budget.  We have a number of issues to take up.  I don't want any distractions," Patrick said.

Patrick says he's running for Lt. Governor again in 2018 and will be supporting Greg Abbott for Governor.

So in case there's any doubt...

"Once and for all...I'm not running against Greg Abbott.  Not in 2018, not ever.  If he wants to be Governor for the next 20 years and I'm still running...that's the same story.  What would be the point?  I like what I do," Patrick said.

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