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State lawmakers head to Austin for the 86th legislative session

Posted at 6:21 PM, Jan 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-04 06:15:40-05

State lawmakers will soon be heading back to Austin for the start of the new legislative session on Tuesday.

They gather in Austin ever two years to review existing laws or create new ones.

But what usually becomes their biggest task is how to pay for state government.

“It will be primarily a funding, economic, revenue type of session,” State Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi) said about the 86th legislative session.

There are some key issues they plan to present during the 140-day session

“Property tax relief should be relief, it shouldn’t be punishment,” Hunter said. “So you will see a big push on trying to look at the property tax system which needs to be looked at which it needs to be looked at and the timing is good.”

Hunter also expects school funding, suicide prevention, and education to be other topics that will be discussed during the upcoming session.

“I’m going to be fighting to change the law and help make stronger laws in Texas on anti-human trafficking,” Hunter said.  “I’m also going to be pushing anti-domestic violence, to me these are some areas the Coastal Bend can come together and we can be the leader in these new laws,”

State Sen. Juan Hinojosa (D-Mission) says providing opportunities for families and schools are top on his list.

“We need to find a way to provide more funding to our schools,” he said. “Number two, we need to provide higher salaries for our teachers. And number three, we have to help many of our schools that were damaged by Hurricane Harvey.”

Hinojosa says another big topic will be the fight over Texas windstorm insurance rates.

Gov. Greg Abbott placed a 10 percent rate increase on TWIA on hold last year.

The governor wants state lawmakers to take up that issue during their legislative session.

It promises to be a busy job ahead for lawmakers. During the last session, they filed more than 6,000 bills in the House and Senate.

And after months of committee hearings and debates, 455 of those bills were eventually passed and signed into law by the governor. Another 42 bills that made it through the House and Senate were vetoed.