Governor Greg Abbott began his address to the joint session of the Texas legislature with a declaration that came with no surprise.
"Today I am proud to report, the state of Texas is exceptional."
Along with that, Governor Abbott announced four emergency items for lawmakers to immediately tackle. They include reforming Child Protective Services, ethics reform, a resolution calling for a Convention of States to amend the U.S. Constitution, and anti-sanctuary city legislation.
That last item, which brought a standing ovation by most in the chamber, made the governor's list, in part, because of a new policy by Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez. It limits which jail inmates, who are undocumented immigrants, she will hold on an ICE Detainers. Without mentioning Hernandez by name, Abbott made it clear how he felt.
"That is unacceptable.”
During his speech the governor recognized several law enforcement officers who survived ambush attacks. Abbott wants those acts designated as hate crimes.
The governor called for more anti-abortion legislation, which includes outlawing the sale of aborted baby body parts.
He also supports tougher penalties for teachers who have sex with students and also said he will sign school choice legislation.
"No child should be in the wrong school simply because of their zip code,” said Governor Abbott.
The governor pushed for more tax breaks for business and property owners. He promised to keep up the border security surge and announced a state hiring freeze through August, which he says will save the state $200 million.
"I am confident that we are going to be able to balance the budget without looting the Rainy Day Fund."
In response to the governor's speech, members of the Democratic Caucus said they support the governor's call to reform Child Protective Services. But they also say the governor missed an opportunity on several other points.
Caucus leader Chris Turner described much of the governor's conservative agenda as the following:
"Were needlessly divisive, pointless, and frankly will be a waste of time,” said the Arlington democrat.
The group was cautiously pleased one hot topic item wasn't mention - the proposal to regulates access to bathrooms by a person's gender at birth.
The democrats say they will try to push for for a higher minmun wage and equal pay legislation, even though the governor did not mention either topic.
"Some of what we heard today, in particular in respect to public education sounded more like a campaign speech and not a state of the state speech. So I'm a little dismayed at that,” said Eagle Pass Democrat Alfonso “Poncho” Nevarez.
The session will now hit a higher gear as hearings will soon begin on many of the governor's emergency items.