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Bills, Bills, Bills ... and Bonnen!

Nearly 400 bills filed already for the 86th Texas Legislature

By Mary Tuma, November 16, 2018, News

It's that time of (every two) year(s) again; Monday, Nov. 12, was the first frenzied day of bill filing for the 86th Texas Legislature. The nearly 400 bills filed in the House and Senate by day's end include measures to rid the state of daylight saving time, to reduce marijuana possession (1 oz. or less) to a civil offense, and to ban abortion except in narrow, lifesaving circumstances. The Billapalooza also carried out the wishes of now-ousted Rep. Paul Workman with a measure (carried by Rep. Matt Krause) to ban cities from requiring employers to offer paid sick leave – a jab at both Austin and San Antonio. Surely more Austin-bashing and erosion of local control lies in our future, although the 86th won't get swinging until Jan. 8.

Swinging the gavel come January will likely be Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, who announced on Monday he's the man of the House. Bonnen told reporters he's secured 109 pledged votes for the speakership, 33 more than he needs; Reps. Four Price, Tan Parker, Phil King (all GOP), and Eric Johnson (Dem) each duly exited the race to replace retiring Rep. Joe Straus and endorsed Bonnen. While not having much use for the far-right Freedom Caucus (which includes Krause), 12-term veteran Bonnen, a procedural stickler, is more conservative than Straus, and he says school finance tops his priorities list. The GOP caucus is set to meet on Dec. 1 to send Bonnen through to the ceremonial vote in January.

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