AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas legislators have their eyes on topics ranging from transgender and reproductive rights to immigration, property taxes and voting ahead of the 2023 session.
On Monday, the first day to file bills ahead of session, nearly 1,000 bills were filed just before 5 p.m.
The bill filing process gives us the first sneak peak into what Texas lawmakers want to pass next year.
House Bill 22, the second on the early filing list, was brought forth by El Paso Rep. Joe Moody (D). HB 22 is related to reporting certain sales of multiple firearms and firearm magazines.
“This bill directly comes from the tragedy in Uvalde. I was part of an investigative committee,” Moody said. “We track how much Sudafed you buy at your local pharmacy — why aren’t we at least monitoring when someone is amassing weapons like this?”
Recent natural disasters prompted New Boston Rep. Gary VanDeaver (R) to file at least two bills to address emergency responses in rural areas.
“We just had a series of tornadoes. We have some very old equipment in our district and trying to get better equipment there,” VanDeaver said.
According to political science professor Brian Smith, this is just the beginning of what promises to be a long process leading up to the session.
“A lot of times what you see is some bills are very, very similar, introduced by different people but addressing the same issue,” Smith said.
So far, some other themes we’ve been able to identify are related to what students are being taught in schools, criminal offense penalties, child abuse, school funding, public information and access, election penalties and sales tax exemptions.
“When we look at it, the Democratic issues [are] probably not going anywhere,” Smith said. “But the Republican ones have a good chance. It also depends on… what does the governor want? What does Lt. Gov. [Dan] Patrick want? What does the speaker of the house want? They really have a lot of power in shaping the agenda and deciding which bills are going to move forward.”
The last day to file a bill is March 10.
“It’s kind of like opening day of [the] season,” VanDeaver said. “You’re always optimistic at the beginning, but we also know the system is really designed to kill legislation.”
Just a fraction of bills filed become state law.
Last session, lawmakers in the Texas House and Senate filed nearly 7,000 bills. Lawmakers passed just over 1,000 of them, and the governor vetoed 21 of them.