This week marked the starting date on many of the bills passed during the historic 84th Legislative session. Sept. 1 is the day in every legislative year when a majority of the bills signed into law take effect. Over 650 bills, including the priority bills you voted me into office to pass, are now the law. I’d like to share with you some of the significant new laws that are now in effect.
Lt. Gov. Patrick presides over the Texas Senate.
Border Security & Criminal Justice
- Border Security: Securing our border has always been the federal government’s responsibility but the current administration has made it a Texas problem. This session we funded border security at historic levels, increasing it from $300 million to $800 million.
- Human Trafficking: This new law creates the Child Sex Trafficking Prevention Unit within the Governor’s criminal justice division. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is also required to develop a policy, in addition to its current child abuse and neglect reporting policy, to include mandatory reporting related to the trafficking of children. Reporting by each school district and open-enrollment charter school is required.
- Body Cameras: Law enforcement agencies can now apply for grants to pay for body cameras to wear while on duty. The police departments have to apply with the Office of the Governor, which now has funding to grant the body camera requests.
Senator Patrick with Border Patrol officers on the border.
- A-F Ranking: The phasing in of A-F ratings for schools and school districts begins this year. This law will hold our education system to a higher standard as each school and school district work hard to receive and maintain a higher rating. This new rating system will make our schools better through increased transparency.
- Math and Science Scholars Loan Repayment Program: This law will help recruit much needed Texas educators by establishing a loan repayment program for math and science teachers who agree to teach math or science in low-income schools. Teachers build the foundation for our children’s future and should be rewarded for the outstanding job they do.
- Toll Roads: The Texas Department of Transportation is now required to develop a report that includes a plan to reduce our reliance on toll roads. The report will also identify the amount of debt service on bonds issued for each toll project in Texas and what would be appropriate to accelerate or complete lump-sum payment of existing debt service. This session we did not add any additional toll roads.
- Gas Tax Revenue Diversions: This session we ended the diversion of revenue from the existing gas tax to redirect the funding for transportation, as well as ending our reliance on debt. With this new funding, we are one step closer to providing relief to our ailing transportation infrastructure.
All Lives Matter
Tragically, Harris County Deputy Sheriff, Darren Goforth, a 10-year veteran, was brutally murdered this past weekend while pumping gas. He was attacked from behind and shot multiple times according to eyewitness reports, even as he lay helpless on the ground. I attended a prayer service in Conroe, Texas, to help lift up law enforcement officers who are in desperate need of our support. It is important for communities across Texas to demonstrate support for their local officers. I will also attend the funeral service for Deputy Goforth on Friday morning. I ask that you keep his family and law enforcement colleagues in your prayers as they suffer and grieve through this tragic loss. “All lives matter” and we need to put an end to this violence against law enforcement – now!
Harris County Deputy Sheriff Goforth
Lt. Gov. Patrick speaking at the Law Enforcement Prayer Service in Conroe.
Directly From the Source
Visit my website at www.ltgov.state.tx.us for the latest updates from the Lieutenant Governor’s office.
God Bless Texas,
“Whomever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.”
Matthew 20:26 (NLT)