Texas Lt. Governor to push socially conservative bills

- Undistracted by extra money to either spend or horde, Republican state lawmakers led by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick are looking to parlay overwhelming GOP power into a barrage of socially conservative legislation.

At the top of Patrick's list are complete elimination of sanctuary cities and discounted college tuition for the undocumented, a law governing transgender access to bathrooms and a measure that may outlaw insurance coverage for abortions.

"I think the Lt. Governor's priorities reflect what Texans feel. I don't think the average Texan thinks the people who don't believe in abortion should be paying for abortion," said State Senator Paul Bettencourt, a longtime ally of the Lt. Governor.

"What I think these are conservative solutions to Texas challenges," added Bettencourt.

Toss in criminal sanctions for the sale of fetal tissue with a controversial school voucher program and Republicans are poised to run the table on a virtual wish list from the Lone Star State's social conservatives.

"I think a good percentage of it will push through," said TSU political analyst Jay Aiyer.

Aiyer believes Patrick has the votes, the time and the charged political atmosphere to move most of the social agenda to the Governor's desk and Democrats have little in the way of clout to stop him.

"They are going to be dealing with the red meat of traditional Republican issues and that's what they are going to focus on," said Aiyer.

And there's nothing more Republican than property tax relief, which is why Bettencourt's Senate Bill 2 will be among the biggest pocketbook issues under consideration at the state capitol this Spring.

"The tax bill has to not grow where it blows people out of their home," said Bettencourt.

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