Capitol Update: Last Days of the 86th Legislative Session

May 31, 2019

Thank you, Governor Greg Abbott and Speaker Dennis Bonnen for your outstanding leadership and a great session.

This is the final Capitol Update of the 86th Legislative Session, which ended on Monday, May 27th.  This session was a productive one, producing property tax relief, additional and reformed funding for public schools, raises for public school teachers, and a 13th check for retired teachers.

SB 12 is the legislation that provides a 13th check for our retired teachers.  SB 12 also brings the Teachers’ Retirement System into actuarial soundness by increasing the state’s contribution to TRS from 6.8% to 8.25%.  In addition to the $1.1 billion for these measures, the budget has an additional $230 million to cover shortfalls in the retired teachers’ health insurance program, ensuring that those premiums will not increase.

In the final days of session, the House and Senate resolved the differences in each chamber’s version of the budget, resulting in the final version of HB 1, which passed both chambers almost unanimously.  In addition to the $11 billion in increased school funding and property tax relief that we talked about last week, the budget has an additional $200 million for school safety improvements, added security personnel and technology, and emergency response training.  With these funds, we are giving our school districts the tools they need to prevent another tragedy like the one we saw last year at Santa Fe High School.

The budget also includes over $2 billion in relief for damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, including funding for disaster relief grants for schools districts, colleges and universities, and other state agencies affected by the storm.  It also includes over $600 million to apply for federal matching dollars, which will help the Gulf coast recover from the devastating storm.

The budget also includes $6.1 billion for non-tolled highway construction.  This money will go a long way in reducing traffic and congestion while also providing funds to address deferred maintenance to our aging infrastructure.  It also increases funding by over $200 million to reduce wait times at driver license offices.  This is one of the most constant complaints I receive from constituents and this increased funding should help to resolve the issue.

While this is the final Capitol Update of the 86th Legislative Session, I will be providing more in-depth reviews of the major accomplishments of this Legislature in the coming weeks.  If you have any questions or there any topics that you would like to see addressed, please make sure to reach out to me at or call me at 903-935-1141 (Marshall office) or 512-463-0556 (Austin office).