The 88th Legislative Assembly convenes, the state treasury is full, and the Republicans are still in power.

The 2023 legislative session began at sharp noon Tuesday, with lawmakers and top Texas leaders returning to Austin with a cash-filled state treasury and Republicans retaining control of the reins.

The first of 140 days officially named the 88th Texas Legislature was an upbeat one, with showmanship overshadowing partisanship, even as leaders acknowledged the challenges ahead.

With Governor Greg Abbott back for a third term and the Senate once again controlled by fellow Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, the only real drama unfolded in the 150-member House, where the speaker is elected by the members. Beaumont Republican Dade Phelan fended off a challenge from fellow Republican Tony Tinderholt of Arlington, who promised to ensure that the committee’s chairmanship came exclusively from the ranks of the Republican Party.

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