House elects new speaker as legislative session kicks off

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The 86th Texas Legislature convened on Jan. 8 with all its customary ceremonies and recognitions— chief of which was the unanimous election of a new House speaker — Angleton Republican Dennis Bonnen.

On Jan. 9, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, and Speaker Bonnen announced their joint commitment to passing legislation that would improve how public education is funded. That arduous and heretofore divisive task means rethinking and recalibrating what share of the cost would be funded by local property taxes — public education’s primary source of funding.

Patrick predicted this legislative session would be different from previous ones. “If the three of us are aligned, that we’re going to accomplish a mission and pass legislation, it happens,” said Patrick. “This is not just a message to the public and to the media, but I think our members will take note, that this is really unprecedented, that we’re addressing these issues at the beginning of session, totally united with one another.” Patrick added that he would name a new Senate committee on property taxes to work on a plan.


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