January 8, 2019
Not long after the 86th Texas legislature gaveled-into session, there were cheers and hollers in the Texas House of Representatives Tuesday afternoon as Angleton-area state Representative Dennis Bonnen was unanimously elected speaker, but the Lt. Governor was nowhere to be seen.
On the Senate side, Senator Jane Nelson said Lt. Governor Dan Patrick is in Washington meeting with President Trump, who is scheduled to give a televised address to the nation tonight.
The Senate elected Austin state Senator Kirk Watson president pro tempore.
Most of the excitement was in the House: Bonnen replaces San Antonio’s Joe Staus, who announced last year he was stepping down from the speaker post and would not run again for state representative, after first being elected speaker in 2009.
Tuesday, Bonnen accepted the post and said public school funding is his top priority, followed by fighting sex trafficking, ensuring safety in schools and property tax reform.
Secretary of State David Whitley convened the session in opening ceremonies and conducted Bonnen’s election.
Whitley said, “Each one of you is expected to rise to the challenge of addressing issues that face Texans in their everyday lives, and to do so in a way that is uniquely Texan: with honor, integrity, strength, and with our Texas pride.
“You must always bear in mind that the decisions you make impact not only your lives, but also the lives of your fellow Texans, and your priorities must always be with them.”
Whitley also called for election integrity to be a top legislative priority.
Governor Greg Abbott then spoke to the House, saying, “We are going to reform school finance in the state of Texas this session.”
He then repeated the need to reform property tax collection.
Secretary of State Whitley convenes the Texas Legislature