Conservative Accomplishments & Shortcomings of the 87th Legislative Session

June 15, 2021

Undoubt­ed­ly by now you have heard a range of opin­ions call­ing this ses­sion a sig­nif­i­cant suc­cess, to an unabashed fail­ure. A decent respect towards the opin­ions of both sides requires that I do my utmost to pro­vide an objec­tive look at this ses­sion’s accom­plish­ments, as well as our failings.

Sec­ond Amendment

The bi-par­ti­san sup­port of Con­sti­tu­tion­al Car­ry (HB 1927), which allows per­mit-less car­ry to any­one over the age of 21 years of age, was one of the great­est vic­to­ries I co-authored this ses­sion. We also passed: HB 2622 (Coau­thor), that makes Texas a Sec­ond Amend­ment Sanc­tu­ary state; SB 20, which allows hotel guests to car­ry and store hand­guns in their room; HB 1069 allows first respon­ders to defend them­selves while on duty, and HB 781, which autho­rizes junior col­lege school mar­shals to con­ceal car­ry their firearm. Addi­tion­al­ly, HB 1500 (Coau­thor) pro­hibits the lim­it­ing, sus­pend­ing or stop­ping the sale or trans­porta­tion of firearms dur­ing a state of declared dis­as­ter. Final­ly, HB 957 (Coau­thor) removes sup­pres­sors from the list of pro­hib­it­ed items in the penal code, and any sup­pres­sor man­u­fac­tured and remains in Texas is not sub­ject to fed­er­al laws or reg­u­la­tions. I was proud to vote for all of these bills, and co-author the major­i­ty of them.

Dis­as­ter Response

The Leg­is­la­ture pro­vid­ed the fund­ing mech­a­nism nec­es­sary to ensure win­ter­i­za­tion of Texas’ pow­er grids, fur­nished secu­ri­ti­za­tion financ­ing for gas util­i­ties to recov­er extra­or­di­nary costs from Win­ter Storm Uri and requires a study of mea­sures to mit­i­gate sim­i­lar future costs.  We also reformed the gov­er­nance of the Elec­tric Reli­a­bil­i­ty Coun­cil of Texas (ERCOT),  by requir­ing every mem­ber of the gov­ern­ing body to be a Texas res­i­dent. Final­ly, we passed SB 3 to ensure the reli­a­bil­i­ty and resilien­cy of the ERCOT grid by address­ing some of the key issues that arose dur­ing and after Win­ter Storm Uri. We also passed SB 1343 which empow­ers local lead­ers to make life-sav­ing deci­sions dur­ing a declared state of emergency. 

Sanc­ti­ty of Life

SB 8, also know as the Heart­beat Bill, was signed into law which pro­hibits abor­tions after the detec­tion of a baby’s heart­beat. The pas­sage of SB1 also increased fund­ing to the state’s Alter­na­tives to Abor­tion pro­gram by 25%. Final­ly, we passed HB 1280, which would imme­di­ate­ly pro­hib­it abor­tions in the state of Texas should the Supreme Court over­turn Roe v. Wade.

Reli­gious Freedom

We required that all hous­es of wor­ship in the state of Texas be con­sid­ered essen­tial dur­ing declared dis­as­ters, and pro­hib­it­ed gov­ern­ment dis­as­ter orders from clos­ing them (HB 525 & HB 1239). Addi­tion­al­ly, we pro­hib­it­ed HOA’s from dis­crim­i­nat­ing against reli­gious dis­plays on pri­vate prop­er­ty, and placed a con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment on the bal­lot that would pro­hib­it the state from ever lim­it­ing or pro­hibit­ing church ser­vices (SB 581 & SJR 27).

Oth­er Notable Bills

We passed SB 1336, which imposed a spend­ing cap on appro­pri­a­tions by the state to the aver­age rate of pop­u­la­tion growth for the bien­ni­um. Our state Con­sti­tu­tion pro­hibits run­ning a state debt except in very lim­it­ed cir­cum­stances. By the pas­sage of SB 1336, we reaf­firmed our com­mit­ment to fis­cal respon­si­bil­i­ty and our future gen­er­a­tions’ finan­cial sol­ven­cy. Addi­tion­al­ly, my own com­mit­tee of Land & Resource Man­age­ment passed long await­ed emi­nent domain reform (HB 2730 by Deshotel). Chair­men Deshotel’s bill was the cul­mi­na­tion of 6 years of nego­ti­a­tions and meet­ings with stake­hold­ers, and I was thank­ful to sup­port reform that ensures equi­table out­comes for all affect­ed par­ties. Final­ly, Texas took a stand with many oth­er con­ser­v­a­tive states by ban­ning the teach­ing of Crit­i­cal Race The­o­ry (CRT) in Texas schools (HB 3979). Our coun­try has made incred­i­ble strides in ful­fill­ing the vision of a soci­ety in which one is judged not by the col­or of their skin, but by the con­tent of their char­ac­ter. By pass­ing HB 3979, Texas has assert­ed our schools will not breed con­tempt for that progress.

Our Fail­ures

It’s healthy to cel­e­brate the ses­sion’s accom­plish­ments while think­ing sober­ly of our missed oppor­tu­ni­ties and down-right neglect of cer­tain issues. The Repub­li­can Par­ty of Texas issued 8 con­ser­v­a­tive pri­or­i­ties at the begin­ning of ses­sion that serve as a met­ric on the effec­tive­ness of the Repub­li­can major­i­ty in the state leg­is­la­ture. We passed only 2 of the 8 priorities.

Elec­tion integri­ty, pro­hibit­ing child gen­i­tal muti­la­tion, total abo­li­tion of abor­tion, mon­u­ment pro­tec­tion, school choice for all, and a ban on tax­pay­er fund­ed lob­by­ing are all pri­or­i­ties that died in this session.

Addi­tion­al­ly, prop­er­ty tax relief was not pri­or­i­tized by this Leg­is­la­ture and bills filed towards that goal died very ear­ly in the process. More­over, the human traf­fick­ing and immi­gra­tion prob­lem at our south­ern bor­der went large­ly ignored. It is due to these fail­ures that I called upon Gov. Abbott to ini­ti­ate a spe­cial ses­sion to pass these pri­or­i­ties for the Peo­ple of Texas. It is my hope that our com­ing spe­cial ses­sions will redeem us from these short com­ings. I look for­ward to going back to Austin to fin­ish the job you sent me there to do.

In Lib­er­ty,

Kyle Bie­der­mann
State House Rep­re­sen­ta­tive
Dis­trict 73

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