HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Call it "Texas Government 101" that is, nothing gets done inside the capitol rotunda with out the "say-so" of our state's Lt. Governor and this session, Houstonian Dan Patrick gave the green light to a great deal.
"We didn't have teamwork before. This time the Speaker, Governor and myself, we led as a team," said Patrick, a Republican from Houston.
Topping the list, a big boost in education funding - $1000 more per student, per year, with teachers awarded a solid raise and a multi-billion dollar infusion to shore-up the pension system for educators in retirement.
And then there's school safety. In the painful wake of Santa Fe, a major investment undertaken to harden campuses against outside threats and the critical counseling needed to pre-empt violence from within.
"Look, we don't have enough mental health care experts and physicians in the private sector let alone in the schools to help students in need, so we put $100 million in for that and $150 million into school security," said Patrick.
Upgrades Patrick and fellow lawmakers delivered while lowering school taxes state-wide and drastically slowing the rise of local levies on residential and commercial property owners.
"On average your city and county taxes should grow half as much as they've been growing," said Patrick.
Also propelled through the legislature were major new tools to attack the plague of human trafficking, higher criminal penalties for those who buy sex and far more resources for those who survive the brutal trade.
"We have young women and young girls and some young boys who are being brought across the border and immediately put into slavery, sex slavery in bars and cantinas forced to have sex 20, 30, 40 times a day. They can't escape," said Patrick.
Patrick also noted lawmakers unlocked $3 billion in "Rainy Day" money to fund Harvey relief and future flood protection.
In reaction, Democrats are attributing the Republican leaderships' recent willingness to spend to the significant ground they lost statewide in the midterm election.
As for talk he's being recruited by President Trump to lead the border battle, Patrick tells Fox 26, if asked, he'd decline, contending he can deliver more effective security leadership from the "frontline" in the Lone Star State.