Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick talks highs and lows of legislative session

Published: Jun. 4, 2019 at 8:44 PM CDT
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Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick sat down with CBS7 to talk about the highs and lows of this legislative session.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick broke down key pieces of legislation dealing with taxes, education and the southern border.

The lieutenant governor said the biggest accomplishments in Austin at the state capitol includes a bill limiting how much local governments can increase property taxes.

“Huge for homeowners and huge for business property owners who have no caps today,” Patrick said. “Their property taxes can go up 20, 30 percent of more. Now it will be capped 2.5 or 3.5 percent.”

As well as changes to school finance that gives teachers a major pay raise.

“Next to a parent, the most important person in the education of a child is a teacher and they’ve already been earning about a third of all the money we spend on education,” he said. “So, we’re mandating in this new budget for schools that the average compensation for package for teachers entering their sixth year or more will be about $4,200 and will continue to get an increase in salary every time we put more money into education.”

But like every session, he couldn’t check off everything on his wish list.

Patrick said he wanted to see more legislation to protect elections against voter fraud.

“We’ve had people who even with their photo ID will show up in a few places from time to time and vote but the mail-in ballots is where we have to crack down on making sure there’s not voter fraud,” Patrick said. “That’s the easiest way it’s done.”

CBS7 also asked why legislation to soften the penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana didn’t make it through the senate, even though polling data shows most Republicans are on board.

Patrick pointed to push back from local law enforcement.

“And we’ve looked at what other states where they have done that and the repercussions there and there are lots of people who want to decriminalize it,” Patrick said. “But this session was not the session.”

One last topic we discussed was immigration.

Patrick is proud the next state budget includes $800 million for security and agrees with President Trump’s threat to multiply tariffs against Mexico if they don’t help curb the flow of migrants into the U.S..

“And so, this is sending a loud and clear message to Mexico—you better help us out and they better help us out,” Patrick said. “And so, I understand why he did it. I think they’ll come to the table, quite frankly, long before the tariffs last very long.”

Patrick plans to travel around the state this summer to talk about his legislative accomplishments.

The next state legislative session is set to begin in January of 2021.