This Week in Texas: September 22, 2021

Posted September 22, 2021 in Uncategorized

Third Special Session Gets Underway

Lawmakers returned to the Texas Capitol on Monday for the start of the third special legislative session. Gov. Abbott has asked lawmakers to address the following issues: 

  • Redistricting
  • Allocation of Federal Funds
  • Prohibiting Transgender Student-Athletes in Public School Sports
  • Banning Vaccine Mandates by Local Governments
  • Legislation relating to the unlawful restraint of a dog 

The primary focus of the session will be redrawing maps for Congress, the Texas House, the Texas Senate, and the State Board of Education, although the allocation of over $16 billion in federal funds will also garner a lot of discussion among lawmakers. 

The Senate has already released a preliminary proposal for redrawn political maps for State Senators and the State Board of Education—both of which preserve Republican power and are drawing backlash from Democrats.

After 3 days in, over 120 bills have been filed and we expect more bills will be filed over the next several weeks. Among them will be the highly anticipated preliminary proposal for redrawn political maps for Texas House members.

Another Retirement in the Texas Legislature

State Rep. Scott Sanford (R-McKinney) announced Sunday he is not running for reelection, citing his family, especially his grandchildren.

This announcement marks the 11th lawmaker that will either retire or not seek re-election to the position they currently hold.

  • Rep. Leo Pacheco (D-San Antonio)–retired to take a new job at San Antonio College.
  • Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie)–recently became the Congressman representing Texas’s 6th Congressional District.
  • Rep. James White (R-Hillister)–running for Texas Land Commissioner.
  • Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton)–running for U.S. Congress.
  • Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound)–running for Texas Senate seat after Sen. Jane Nelson departure.
  • Rep. John Turner (D-Dallas)–retiring.
  • Rep. Ben Leman (R-Anderson)–retiring.
  • Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth)–running for Texas Attorney General.
  • Rep. Scott Sanford (R-McKinney)–retiring.
  • Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound)–retiring.
  • Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway)–running for Texas Land Commissioner.

Beto Plans to Run for Texas Governor

Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke is preparing to run for governor of Texas in 2022, Texas political operatives told Axios.

No announcement date has been released, other than it will be later this year. In the meantime, O’Rourke has been calling political allies to solicit their advice.

In 2018, O’Rourke lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, 51% to 48%, by a margin of some 215,000 votes.

Former State Sen. Pete Flores Seeks Comeback

A retired game warden and self-described pro-business fiscal conservative, former State Senator Pete Flores, a Pleasanton Republican who lost his San Antonio-area seat last year, is planning a comeback run to return to the Legislature — this time in a new district.

Flores used to represent Senate District 19, a sprawling district running from San Antonio to Pecos. He was unseated in 2020 by state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a San Antonio Democrat.

But the Texas Legislature is redrawing the state’s political maps this fall and proposed new lines place Flores’ hometown in Senate District 24, currently held by state Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway). She is leaving her post next year to run for Texas land commissioner.

Only in Austin…

Celebrate the coming of fall by visiting Pioneer Farms for Pumking Nights September 30 – October 31.

At Pumpkin Nights, you will set out on a Halloween walking path, unlike anything you have ever experienced. You will discover 10-foot tall Jack-o-Lanterns, the world’s largest pumpkin guitar, a flying 40-foot handmade dragon, a life-size pumpkin pirate ship, and more fantastic surprises built by our artists using over 5,000 hand-carved real and artificial pumpkins.

Buy your tickets now.