(Central Square) – Leading up to Texas’ 88th legislative session, at least 1,635 bills had been filed as of Jan. 9, according to preliminary state data.
The Texas legislature meets on Tuesday and is due to complete its work on May 29. It meets every two years for about four months. Gov. Greg Abbott called three special legislative sessions last year in addition to the general session.
According to the data, the most viewed bills filed for the 88th Legislative Session deal with parental rights and child abuse. Among them are bills defining sexually oriented business, several bills defining child abuse, and some concerning the prosecution of offenders who abandon or endanger a child.
They also include a bill on parental rights in education and a bill to support the end of “gender-affirming care”.
Other most popular bills include a bill proposing a constitutional amendment legalizing gambling, which is described as a way to “stimulate economic development and job growth, as well as provide tax breaks and funding for education and public safety.” Another bill that received the most views was filed to protect freedom of speech in institutions of higher education; the other is to regulate the consumption of hemp products.
The bills most often tracked on the prefiling site are those that define sex-oriented business, propose a parental rights in education bill, and also define child abuse. One includes a definition of child abuse and concerns the prosecution of those who abandon or endanger a child. Other most popular bills include granting civic action to K-12 and college athletes related to participation in sporting events based on biological sex.
The two most popular bills deal with gender issues. One, filed by a Republican, is to create professional liability insurance coverage for gender reassignment, gender reassignment, or gender dysphoria procedures and treatments. One, filed by a Democrat, provides for administrative punishment for those who discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Another most popular bill is a proposed constitutional amendment to abolish daylight saving time.
While the state legislature is controlled by Republicans, Democrats submit the most bills in both houses.
Four of the top five state representatives with the most bills are Democrats Terry Meza (45), Vicki Goodwin (42), Harold Dutton (39) and Diego Bernal (37). Rep. Cody Wasut filed the most bills among Republicans, with 36.
Four of the top five state senators with the most bills are Democrats Nathan Johnson (65), Judith Zaffirini (58), Sarah Eckhardt (55) and Jose Menendez (28). Senator Bob Hall has filed the most bills among Republicans (28).
In the House of Representatives, the highest number of bills submitted for passage through committees is 439 in the State Affairs Committee, followed by 287 in the House of Representatives, 235 in public education, 213 in public health, and 206 in elections.
In the Senate, the highest number of bills filed through committees is 311 in the Committee on Business and Commerce, followed by 244 State Affairs, 236 Local Government, 216 Health and Human Services, and 144 Education.
For comparison, according to the data, 10,000 bills were submitted to the 87th Legislature (2021-2022), of which 3,783 were completed. In addition, more than 700 bills were finalized in three special sessions.