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Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick unveils legislative goals for 2023

Among the issues highlighted are border security, school curriculums, abortion, remote work and the pandemic’s effect on school teachers.

AUSTIN, Texas — One of the powers of the Texas lieutenant governor is to set a list of legislative priorities for the State Senate, the chamber over which he presides. On Monday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made it clear what those issues will be well in advance of the start of the 88th legislative session with the release of those priorities.

RELATED: Challenge against abortion law shut down after Texas Supreme Court rules licensing board does not enforce law

The first listed priority revolves around immigration, specifically as it relates to the southern border. The Border Security Committee has been tasked with investigating how well agencies receiving border security funding have been at deterring transnational crime. Operation Lone Star, a joint operation between the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Military Department to secure the border, will also be under a microscope as lawmakers are expected to analyze the impact and efficacy of the operation.

RELATED: National Guard troops were dispatched to famous Texas ranches with private security as part of border mission

The ongoing pandemic continues to have a grip on state politics in many arenas. Lawmakers in the Education Committee have been tasked with understanding the long-term effects of the pandemic’s impact on school teachers and declining school enrollment. 

On the topic of education, the lieutenant governor has also asked lawmakers to review parental rights and responsibilities as they relate to school curriculums. The language in the lists specifically calls on enabling parents to exert a greater influence on their child’s learning environment.

The senate will be tasked with understanding the use of federal COVID-19 relief funds, and how local municipalities have used those dollars.

For the first time since the pandemic started, the State will also review the impact of remote work on State employees. Lawmakers will investigate the benefits and drawbacks of remote work policies with the end goal of recommending legislation to establish uniform remote work policies.

Even with the passage of Senate Bill 8 last year, the lieutenant governor has tasked lawmakers to continue researching ways of “protecting the unborn.” One of the goals is to increase funding for programs that offer alternatives to abortion and to study the needs of pregnant and post-partum women. 

A total of 14 priorities were listed in Patrick’s charges. The 88th legislative session opens next January.

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