Weeks Before the Legislative Session, State Leaders’ Policy Priorities and COVID-19 Safety Plans Remain Works in Progress

With less than three weeks until the Texas Legislature meets, uncertainty is lingering as state leaders have yet to flesh out their agendas and lawmakers scramble to figure out how to safely convene during the coronavirus pandemic.

It has been anything but the typical pre-session run-up, and members are heading into the Christmas holiday faced with several unknowns — which, to be sure, could be settled in short order. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has suggested there could be an announcement about pandemic protocols next week, and Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to give more details about his legislative agenda once the new year begins.

But for now, the pre-session landscape remains somewhat unsettled, aside from the obvious must-pass items like the budget and redistricting legislation that Capitol observers expect to form the backbone of a challenging session, which begins Jan. 12.

“I think the political community has taken it to heart that the agenda for this session will be more modest, and I think … with a presumed budget deficit and redistricting and some sort of COVID protocols stifling at least a portion of the typical Legislature means that some — a significant amount — of the political oxygen has already been eaten up,” said Ted Delisi, a Republican political consultant.

Read the full story at Texas Tribune.