Surplus among reasons Abbott is especially excited about 88th Texas Legislature

Surplus among reasons Abbott is especially excited about 88th Texas Legislature
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 6:57 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 10, 2023 at 8:06 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The 88th Texas Legislature gaveled to order at noon Tuesday in Austin, as it does every two years for a 140-day regular session. The first order of business for the Texas House was electing a speaker.

“I declare the honorable Dade Phelan of Jefferson County to be the duly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives of the 88th Legislature,” said Jane Nelson, Texas Secretary of State.

With just three lawmakers voting against him, Beaumont Republican Dade Phelan was again named Texas House Speaker. He fended off a challenge from fellow Republican Tony Tinderholt of Arlington, who has accused Phelan of being “insufficiently conservative.”

“Please do not confuse this body with the one in Washington D.C.,” Phelan said. “After watching Congress attempt to function last week, I cannot imagine why some want Texas to be like D.C.”

Speaking to lawmakers, Phelan said his priorities include things like property tax relief, healthcare for new moms, and safer schools -- specifically mentioning the shooting in Uvalde.

“We owe it to the memory of those children and teachers to make sensible, meaningful change,” Phelan said.

Lawmakers will work with almost $33 billion in surplus this session, on top of the $188 billion already in the state budget.

“I have never been more excited about the beginning of a session than I am this year,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. “I think there’s a great coalescence among both chambers, and among all the leadership, about not only what the issues are, but also what the solutions to those issues are.”