Jan. 13, 2021
The 87th Session of the Texas Legislature commenced Tuesday, Jan. 12. The new Speaker of the Texas House, Dade Phelan, was elected, Gov. Abbott addressed both chambers with a message about the importance of working together on behalf of all Texans in the months ahead, and other opening day ceremonies were carried out as possible under coronavirus-related protocols.
The Texas Capitol is open, but visitors must receive a clear COVID-19 rapid test before they are allowed to enter the building. Once inside, there are State Preservation Board protocols that must be followed, including wearing masks. Additionally, the House and Senate have their own rules and guidelines, so visitors are finding some legislators' offices open without an appointment, while other offices require clear COVID-19 tests, appointments and more before visitors are allowed to enter.
House and Senate rules are expected to be adopted by tomorrow, and we've been told that their general rules will include new or altered coronavirus-related protocols. If you are planning to travel to the Capitol, we encourage you to call ahead or contact us for current rules.
Additionally, it's worth noting that Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar issued the Biennial Revenue Estimate (BRE)
on Monday, Jan. 11. The BRE provides direction for appropriators who are trying to determine the volume of discretionary funds available to craft the state budget for the next biennium. Every issue discussed at the Texas Capitol is impacted by the development of the state budget. And, as Comptroller Hegar hinted when he spoke at TLTA's Town Hall Meeting late last year, the BRE was stronger than expected, giving legislators more wiggle room as they work on the issues important to them and their districts.