Texas Legislature’s 2017 regular and special sessions in review

domecenterThe 85th Texas Legislature considered a variety of issues in 2017. Members filed 6,800 bills and joint resolutions during the regular session, which ended May 29, and 560 bills and joint resolutions during the first called session, which ended August 15. In the regular session, 1,211 bills were approved by both chambers and sent to the governor for approval, followed by 12 more during the first called session.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed a total of 1,019 bills into law and allowed 153 to become law without his signature. The governor also vetoed 50 bills and some individual line-items in the general appropriations act.

Among the major bills enacted were those that addressed voter ID, sanctuary cities, community-based foster care, municipal pension systems, school finance, texting while driving, and abortion reporting requirements. Summaries of some of the regular session’s major issues — including both bills that were enacted and those that failed to become law — are available in the House Research Organization’s (HRO’s) latest focus report, Major Issues of the 85th Legislature, Regular Session and First Called Session. The report includes a digest of each bill, as well as supporting and opposing arguments offered during consideration of the legislation.

The Legislature also approved seven resolutions proposing amendments to the Texas Constitution, all of which were approved by voters in the Nov. 7, 2017, election. More information is available in the HRO report Constitutional Amendments Proposed for November 2017 Ballot.

Bills vetoed by the governor included measures addressing guardianships, voting by mail, water regulation, and public school accountability, among others. Information about vetoed bills is available in the HRO report Vetoes of Legislation: 85th Legislature, which includes a brief summary of each vetoed bill, the governor’s stated reason for the veto, and a response to the veto by the author or the sponsor of the bill.

by Janet Elliott

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