Hardly ever do I have a good word to say about Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, but today I am going to veer into virtually unknown territory.
I want to offer a word of cautious praise for the agenda he is proposing for the Texas Senate as it prepares for the start of the next Legislature which opens for business in early January.
Patrick is pitching several key issues as his top priority items.
They are: fixing the electrical grid; reducing property taxes; and shoring up our border security.
None of that sounds particularly alarming to me. Nor should it to anyone else. There might be a socially conservative issue or two hidden in Patrick’s sleeve. You might recall how he sought to impose the “bathroom bill” on Texans in the 2017 Legislature. That was the bill that sought to require transgender Texans to use the public bathroom that coincided with their “gender at birth.” That attempt at homophobic legislation died in the House, thanks to the will of then-Speaker Joe Straus, another Republican legislator.
I don’t want Patrick to try more of that kind of funny business the 2023 legislative session.
The electrical grid needs repair, even though Gov. Greg Abbott and Patrick said it had been fixed after the disaster that came to the state in February 2021, when hundreds of Texans froze to death.
As for property tax relief, I am unsure what kind of authority the state has over a matter that is decided by county commissioners’ courts, school boards, city councils and assorted other local governing bodies. However, as a taxpaying Texas resident of long standing, I welcome the effort.
Patrick cruised to re-election this year and is likely filled with plenty of political capital as he prepares the Senate — over which he presides — for the work that lies ahead.
I wish him — and the Senate — well as they get busy. I just want to offer a word of caution to the occasionally fiery and abrasive lieutenant governor: Keep your eye on the ball and let’s not try to legislate our moral behavior.