Last Tuesday, 8 members of The Fredericksburg Tea Party attended The State of The State presentation by Gov. Greg Abbott.

The Governor opened the speech by talking about how many people were moving in to the State, about 1,000 every day! He also mentioned the low unemployment rate and large number of companies moving their businesses to our Great State.

There were no great surprises.

The majority of the speech was centered on the five items he labeled as “emergencies”. It is important to know that when The Governor designates an item as an “emergency”, it creates a fast track for those items. The timelines and deadlines are changed for “emergencies”, allowing them to move to the front of the line for consideration in committees and on the floor.

The first emergency item is already being heard in committee and several members of FTP are testifying as I write this. Property Tax Relief and Reform (SB 2) is in committee right now. An identical bill in the House (HB 2) is in the process but public hearings have not been announced. The best guess is that during the week of 2/18, this bill will come before a House committee. If you want to testify when this reaches the House please let us know and we will help you with your testimony.

The remaining four “emergency” items are: School Finance Reform and teacher pay, School Safety, Mental Health and Disaster Response.

Abbott said school finance reform should start with teacher pay. He pointed to the successful model of the Dallas Schools, where a merit based pay system is being tried. I have heard that there are some downsides to The Dallas Model but he mentioned none of those. Of note was the idea that the best teachers should be making “6 figures”. You may recall that during his inauguration speech just a few short weeks ago, he offered a $5,000 pay increase across the board for all teachers.

School Safety – We all agree that we want our children safe in school, however be on the lookout for “red flag” laws. They may sound good but these “red flag” laws just toss the US and Texas Constitutions right out the window! Essentially, it is a removal of certain God given rights, protected by The Constitution, without due process!

Mental Health – He did not elaborate and it is up to you and me to figure out what that means!

Disaster Response – He spoke highly of the response to Harvey but said we could do better.

NOT considered to be an “emergency” by our Governor is border security. He is calling for new Anti-Gang Centers and to “fully fund our border security program”. He talked about 6 regional Human Trafficking Squads. In the “hallways” I heard talk of even more bold border security ideas. Let’s hope that this becomes an “emergency” to our Governor as we know it is already an emergency to the rest of us!

He also spoke of increasing funds for the processing of Rape Kits that are backlogged across the state. Survivors of Rape and Sexual Assault deserve their cases to be brought to trial in a timely manner.

Of note is what was NOT mentioned – The Republican Party of Texas legislative priorities. Interesting! I guess.  If regular every day Republicans in the House and Senate can ignore the platform, then so can our Governor.

I was glad I attended and that FTP was so well represented.

Thank you for your continuing support. We cannot do this without your prayers and financial support.

My Humble Opinion,

Matt Long