McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Passing a state budget that includes funding billions for border security is the No. 1 goal of the Republican-led Texas Senate during this Legislature, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Monday.

Senate Bill 1, which is the state budget, currently requests $4.6 billion for border security initiatives for the 2024-25 biennium, including the building of a state border wall that has begun in the Rio Grande Valley.

“This year, several of our policy initiatives are already addressed in the budget as opposed to specific bills. One example is Texas border security funding. Since President Biden took office and implemented his open border policies, Texas has stepped into the breach. Texas should not have to use our tax dollars to do the federal government’s job, but it is vitally important that we maintain our law enforcement and National Guard presence. If we do not, the border crisis will get much worse,” Patrick said in a statement.

The Texas National Guard conduct exercises along the banks of the Rio Grande on April 7, 2022, in Mission, Texas, overlooking Reynosa, Mexico, as part of Operation Lone Star. (Sandra Sanchez Border Report File Photo)

The current bill requests $2.2 billion for the Texas Military Department, which provides Texas National Guard soldiers to the border region. It also requests nearly $2 billion for the Texas Department of Public Safety, which has surged state troopers to help the Border Patrol and National Guard patrol the borderlands as part of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star.

“Senators like to get a low bill number because it shows their bill is also a priority of the lieutenant governor and has a great chance of passing. I believe Texans support our priorities because they largely reflect the policies supported by the conservative majority of Texans. Most will pass with bipartisan support,” Patrick said.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick talks legislative priorities ahead of 88th session (KXAN File Photo/Mariano Garza)

Lt. Gov Patrick’s other priority bills include:

  • Senate Bill 2 – Restoring voter fraud to a felony
  • Senate Bill 3 – Increasing the homestead exemption to $70,000
  • Senate Bill 4 – Adding additional property tax relief
  • Senate Bill 5 – Increasing the Business Personal Property Tax Exemption
  • Senate Bill 6 – Adding new natural gas plants
  • Senate Bill 7 – Improving the Texas Grid
  • Senate Bill 8 – Empowering parental rights, including school choice
  • Senate Bill 9 – Empowering teacher rights, including teacher pay raises
  • Senate Bill 10 – Adding 13th checks for retired teachers
  • Senate Bill 11 – Keeping schools safe and secure
  • Senate Bill 12 – Banning children’s exposure to drag shows
  • Senate Bill 13 – Protecting children from obscene books in libraries
  • Senate Bill 14 – Ending child gender modification
  • Senate Bill 15 – Protecting women’s college sports
  • Senate Bill 16 – Banning Critical Race Theory (CRT) in higher education
  • Senate Bill 17 – Banning “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” (DEI) Policies in higher education
  • Senate Bill 18 – Eliminating tenure at general academic institutions
  • Senate Bill 19 – Creating a new Higher Education Endowment Fund
  • Senate Bill 20 – Removing district attorneys who refuse to follow Texas laws
  • Senate Bill 21 – Removing judges who refuse to follow Texas laws
  • Senate Bill 22 – Assisting rural law enforcement funding by increasing pay and equipment
  • Senate Bill 23 – Creating a mandatory 10-year prison sentence for those who commit gun crimes
  • Senate Bill 24 – Expanding abortion alternatives
  • Senate Bill 25 – Creating new scholarships for registered nurses
  • Senate Bill 26  Expanding mental health care beds, especially in rural counties
  • Senate Bill 27 – Creating a new Business Specialty Court
  • Senate Bill 28 – Addressing future water needs
  • Senate Bill 29 – Banning local COVID-19 mandates
  • Senate Bill 30 – Passing a supplemental budget

The 88th Legislature is 140 days long and began on Jan. 10.