Top 10 Hits of the 86th Texas Legislature

What antics did those state senators and representatives get up to this year?


Currently the youngest member of the Texas Lege, Rep. James Talarico was one of the newly elected Dems in 2019. (Photo by Jana Birchum)

1) "Bluer Than Blue."
Twelve new Dems in the Texas House and two in the Senate lowered the fevered temperature of the GOP hothouse.

2) "Teach the Children."
With an eye toward survival, chastened lawmakers finally took a shot at fixing the state's broken school finance system.

3) "Too Late to Apologize."
Secretary of State David Whitley saw his job go up in flames after an incompetent effort to strip the vote from tens of thousands of (largely Latinx) Texans.

4) "Something Stupid."
Dennis Bonnen had triumphed in his first session as House Speaker, but then blew it all when his boneheaded backstabbing got caught on tape.

5) "Where's Da Bud?"
The House's bipartisan criminal justice reforms got rebuffed by the Senate – but the Lege inadvertently decriminalized marijuana (by legalizing hemp) instead!

6) "One for the Road."
Texas craft breweries can now sell beer to-go – a bipartisan triumph of common sense over the state's byzantine, dysfunctional, corrupt alcohol regulatory regime.

7) "I'm Coming Out."
The first-ever LGBTQ Caucus in the Lege helped thwart attacks on local nondiscrimination ordinances and stood up against stupid Chick-fil-A-themed wingnut antics.

8) "Mind Your Own Business."
While most attacks on reproductive rights thankfully failed, cities are now largely prohibited from doing business with Planned Parenthood.

9) "History Never Repeats."
The session began with the trashing of a spurious Confederate historical plaque in the Capitol; bills to protect similar Lost Cause leftovers did not survive.

10) "Your Cash Ain't Nothin' but Trash."
Even though Texas has plenty of money, the Lege made sure cities and counties would go begging with new property tax revenue caps.

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