Eye on Politics: A one-on-one with Lt. Gov. Patrick, planned political protests
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick discusses property tax relief, school choice and his priorities for the remainder of the session with political reporter Jack Fink. Plus, Texas House Democrats are holding rallies across the state to protest legislation they say will take Texas backwards. These stories and more in the latest episode of Eye on Politics.
Every week, CBS News Texas political reporter Jack Fink breaks down some of the biggest political stories grabbing headlines in North Texas and beyond. Watch the latest episode of Eye on Politics in the video player above and stream new episodes live every Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. on CBS News Texas.
One-on-one with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick
With less than six weeks left in the legislative session, Jack spoke with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick about the priorities he’s focused on. From school security to school choice, here are some of the topics they covered:
The Texas Senate passed its school security bill, SB 11, unanimously Wednesday afternoon, 31-0.
After the Uvalde mass shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered new safety audits at each school campus. SB 11 would make those provisions a part of the state law. The legislation would also give the Texas Education Agency new authority to make sure school districts are complying with the regulations.
In his interview with Jack, Lt. Gov. Patrick said parents and educators still need to do their part:
“We have to depend on parents, we have to depend on those who run those school districts and those schools to follow up and let us know when things don’t happen,” he said. “We don’t have 1,000 inspectors to go to every school.”
He said like the House, the Senate’s bill increases the amount of money spent on school security from $600 million to about $1.5 billion during the next two-year budget.
The House has scheduled its two school security bills, HB 3 and HB 13, to be debated Monday.
Regarding another priority, the Lt. Gov. praised Governor Abbott’s statewide tour, including a stop at Nolan Catholic High School in Fort Worth Wednesday afternoon, to push for school choice and taxpayer-funded savings accounts for some public school students to attend private schools.
The Senate approved its bill earlier this month, but the House passed an amendment in its budget that no tax dollars will be used for what critics call school vouchers.
Still, Patrick said he isn’t giving up on the House:
“I’m very optimistic, more than I’ve ever been in the House that we may get a school choice bill out from them,” he said. “I don’t know what it will look like. We’ll have to go to conference and work it out. But I’m optimistic because that vote when you look at the technical side of the vote, it’s much closer to happening than ever before. But we’ll see what happens.”
Time running out
The legislative session ends Memorial Day weekend. Jack asked the lieutenant governor if he’s concerned the Senate’s top 30 priorities won’t pass the House by that time.
“I am concerned the clock will run out,” he said. “I just don’t know which ones may not make the deadline.”
Jack and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also discussed property tax relief and the issue of state vs. local control. Watch the full conversation below.
Texas House Democrats to hold statewide rallies this weekend
Texas House Democrats are set to hold rallies in Plano and other cities Saturday to protest against Republican bills they say will pull the state backwards.
The vice chair of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, State Rep. Gene Wu of Houston said, “I think it’s really important for all of us—and not just Democrats, for just people in general—to say, ‘Start sounding the alarm.’”
Wu said they are sounding the alarm over bills including Senate Bill 17, which passed this week.
If it’s also approved by the House, it would prohibit state colleges and universities from maintaining or establishing a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) office, and certain training for DEI.
“These programs were set up so that everybody has a fair shot,” Wu said. “By taking these programs away, it means that the people who have been historically discriminated against may not have a fair shot again.”
Watch Jack’s full interview with State Rep. Gene Wu below.
Other political headlines
- Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Kristy Noble has announced she’s stepping down. No word yet on who will succeed her.
- The San Antonio Express-News reports State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, whose district includes Uvalde, will very likely run against Sen. Ted Cruz. The Dallas Morning News previously reported that Dallas-area Congressman Colin Allred is also considering a run against Cruz.