Abbott Names Emergency Legislative Items

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott delivers his "State of the State" address | Image by Office of Governor Greg Abbott

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott delivered his “State of the State” address last night in San Marcos, outlining several emergency items for the legislature to address during the ongoing 88th Session.

Abbott identified seven priorities: school choice, school safety, ending COVID restrictions, border security, bail reform, reducing the burden of property taxes, and addressing the fentanyl crisis.

The Texas Constitution prohibits the legislature from passing any bills during the first 60 days of the session on subjects that have not been designated as emergency topics by the governor.

“Texans have inherited a legendary pedigree. A state first settled by brave pioneers willing to risk everything for the promise of freedom and opportunity,” Abbott said in the speech’s first moments. “Texas is fulfilling that promise.”

Speaking from the floor of Noveon Magnetics, Abbott urged fellow Texans to embrace innovation, making “Texas more self-reliant to create our own products and to secure the future of tomorrow.”

Celebrating the fact that Texas is the ninth-largest economy in the world, the governor suggested, “All across our state, business is booming.”

“From our large metros to rural Texas and everywhere in between, businesses large and small have led Texas to be ranked the number one state for doing business every year that I’ve been your Governor,” he added.

The first emergency item Abbott emphasized was reducing the burden of property taxes.

“As I travel across our great state, there’s one thing I hear loud and clear: Property taxes are suffocating Texans,” he explained. “We must fix that this session.”

Pointing to the budget surplus, Abbott suggested, “That money belongs to you, the taxpayers. We should return it to you with the largest property tax cut in the history of Texas.”

Policy initiatives proposed to address property taxes included increasing the available tax exemptions and limiting the ability of local governments to increase the tax burden on citizens.

Abbott also addressed the controversial subject of COVID restrictions.

“People have been coming to Texas in search of liberty for almost 200 years. We must protect that liberty,” Abbott said. “That’s why I’m announcing an emergency item to end COVID restrictions forever.”

Abbott received considerable criticism for his handling of the recent pandemic, leading to primary challenges from former Texas Sen. Don Huffines and former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West.

The governor extended the COVID disaster declaration on February 14, despite previous calls from within the party to let it expire.

Another major critique of Abbott’s COVID response hinged on his refusal to convene an emergency session of the Texas Legislature.

However, a policy handout related to his State of the State priorities claims, “The Governor will also work with the Texas Legislature to create safeguards and change how government response to future pandemics, including requiring the legislature to convene if another pandemic is ever declared.”

Abbott went on to identify school choice and school safety as emergency legislative priorities as well.

“We must also protect the freedom and rights of parents who have children in school,” the governor said.

Advancing a vision for universal education savings accounts, Abbott promised, “To be clear, under this school choice program, all public schools will be fully funded for every student.”

Turning to safety, the governor explained, “We cannot let another school year go by without making our schools safer.”

In an additional handout, Abbott highlighted the steps taken over the past several years to increase security at educational facilities.

“More must be done to provide Texas communities and school districts with the resources needed to ensure the safety and security of students and faculty,” the information sheet noted. “We must also provide more mental health professionals in our schools.”

Expanding the discussion of security further, Abbott emphasized the need to end the practice of “revolving door bail,” where he says, “activist judges are using low bail to let dangerous criminals back on the streets.”

Turning to the border, the governor insisted, “Texans are furious about the lawlessness caused by Biden’s open border policies, and they should be.”

Outlining additional policy measures, Abbot sought an additional $4.6 billion in taxpayer funds to strengthen security efforts and called for legislation to increase penalties for human smuggling.

Relatedly, Abbott called for increased focus on addressing the fentanyl crisis.

“Our porous border has tragic side effects,” Abbott said. “Fentanyl poisoning has now become the leading killer of Americans between the ages of 18 and 45. This travesty must end.”

Abbott’s suggested policy solutions included reclassifying fentanyl “overdosing” as poisoning, prosecuting people who peddle fentanyl pills for murder when the drug leads to death, and increasing the supply of Narcan.

Since the beginning of Operation Lone Star, enough fentanyl has been confiscated by law enforcement officials to “kill every man, woman, and child” in America, according to the governor’s office.

Gov. Abbott concluded by suggesting, “One hundred and eighty-seven years after Texas was founded, it has never been a better time to be a Texan.

“Texas is America’s economic juggernaut. … Texas is the seat of knowledge. … Texas is the energy capital of the world. … Texas is the home of justice,” the governor asserted.

In response to the State of the State address, the Texas Democratic Party released a 10-minute pre-recorded video with dozens of participants.

In the video, Uvalde families urged anti-gun legislation, critics blamed Abbott for electric grid failures during Winter Storm Uri, and school choice proposals were denounced as an existential threat to public education.

“We can promise you, Democrats are going to fight, because you, the people of Texas, deserve the opportunity to succeed no matter your race, life background, or where in this great state you call home,” Rep. Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth) concluded.

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  1. R Reason

    I get it now; the largest property tax cut in Texas; soon followed by the largest (school voucher) property tax hike; to keep place among the least intelligent states in the union.

  2. Charles Moncrief

    At least he pronounced Fentanyl correctly.
    The vowels and consonants seem to suggest FENT UN ILL.
    Is it illiteracy to call it FENT IN ALL? Or has the dictionary changed the rules?


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