AUSTIN – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued this statement today after gaveling out the 86th Legislative Session, sine die:
“When I was asked by a reporter earlier today to describe the 86th Legislative Session in one word, my answer was ‘Teamwork.’ This session wasn’t about any individual leader, it was about focusing on the top priorities of the people of Texas — property tax reform, paying teachers more and education — and not quitting until we reached that goal. We changed a century of education policy in 140 days.
“The legislation we passed this session will provide an average of $200 in property tax relief this year on a $250,000 home. The first property tax reform in 40 years, Senate Bill 2 limits revenue increases at the local level by 3.5% for cities and counties and 2.5% for school districts. Currently, local property taxes increase an average of 7% across the state — and in some places, the increase is much more. Senate Bill 2 will save Texans thousands of dollars in property taxes in coming years. Going forward, Texas homeowners will no longer have their rising home appraisals used as a weapon against them.
“Property tax reforms this session also will help secure the future of our children and our state by making transformative changes in our public schools including a $4,200 average pay raise for our veteran teachers. Next to a parent, no one has more impact on the success of a child than a teacher. This pay increase will help us keep our best teachers and recruit the best and the brightest going forward. We also made our teacher retirement system (TRS) actuarially sound this session and provided retired teachers with a 13th check.
“All 30 of the priorities I identified at the beginning of the session passed the Texas Senate and 18 of them are on their way to Gov. Greg Abbott as senate bills to be signed into law. Another 7 of our priorities were passed as House bills. These priorities include legislation addressing disaster response and rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey, stopping human trafficking and defending life, liberty and our Second Amendment rights. We also passed legislation to ensure that businesses can continue to expand and create jobs and legislation that will protect consumers. Click here to see the entire list of priorities.
“Legislation passed this session will end so-called ‘surprise billing’ for medical emergencies when patients have no choice of which medical provider they see or which facility they visit, including non-network care at in-network hospitals and out-of-network lab and imaging work.
“We also passed a consumer price check on prescription drugs that will ensure that when the price of a prescription spikes more than 15%, Texans will be alerted. This is one of the most stringent requirements in the nation.
“I want to thank Gov. Abbott and Speaker Dennis Bonnen for their diligence and friendship as we worked through the monumental legislation we passed this session. I also want to especially thank the 31 men and women, Republicans and Democrats, who serve in the Texas Senate with honor and distinction. They are tireless professionals who make great personal sacrifices to serve. I am lucky to have them as colleagues and Texas is lucky to have them as public servants.”