The top story for this week is the conclusion of Texas’ third special session. The session ended with both chambers approving new maps to delineate districts for our U.S. Congressional Delegation, State Senators and State Representatives.
There have been a few tweaks since the last time I posted links to the maps, so here are the final versions:
Now that the maps are set, it’s decision time for a lot of current and prospective lawmakers. Several veteran Senators and Representatives have announced that they will not seek re-election, and some are running for higher offices. Candidates have until Dec. 13 to decide if they want to run, so the political landscape should become a little clearer over the next few weeks.
Once the filing deadline passes, TSCRA’s Political Action Committee will meet to decide which candidates to endorse. As always, we want to support those candidates who support cattle producers! We will publish that endorsement list early next year, ahead of the primary elections.
Speaking of elections, early voting for the Nov. 2 Constitutional Amendment Election is underway. There may be local issues or candidates on the ballot, but only eight constitutional amendments are up for consideration statewide. You can learn more about those here. You can view additional information, including finding where to vote at votetexas.gov
Lawmakers passed one more constitutional amendment of note during the last special session. It would increase the property tax homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000, saving the average homeowner about $175 on their annual tax bill. Unfortunately, it wasn’t passed in time for this election, so you’ll have to wait until next May to vote on that proposal.
The other big-ticket item from the last special session was deciding how to spend the COVID-19 relief funding given to Texas by the Feds. It’s a long list, but two of the biggest appropriations of interest to rural Texans are $500 million for broadband infrastructure and $75 million for rural hospitals.
We hear there will not be any more special sessions, at least not anytime soon.
We’re keeping an eye on things in Washington, but so far, the tax debate remains at a standstill as Democrats try to work out their differences on their massive spending deal, the Build Back Better plan.
We’ve also been busy with a slew of comments to regulatory agencies on endangered species, chronic wasting disease, fake meat and more. We should be finalizing a lot of those next week, so stay tuned for more!
See you then!
Jeremy Fuchs is the director of policy communications and government relations for Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.