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    County Issues Newsletter | January 2024

    News Article | January 26, 2024

    Month in Review: A Digest of Capitol News

    County News | Legislative News
    Legislative Services
    New Laws Take Effect

    The concluding text of every bill the Legislature passes is the effective date or dates for the bill. While lawmakers may set any effective date, most legislation either takes effect immediately, on Sept. 1 of the same year or on Jan. 1 of the following year. The 88th Legislature passed 30 bills with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2024. County officials will be interested in several dealing with ad valorem taxation, land use and criminal justice. They may be viewed here.

    See the TAC 2023 Legislative Analysis Report for a summary of legislation passed by the 88th Legislature of interest to counties.

    Senate Bill 22, Rural Law Enforcement Assistance Program, Application Period Open

    The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts published the final Senate Bill 22 rules in the Texas Register on Jan. 12. The rules took effect on Jan. 16 and can be found here. Additionally, eligible applicants should have received an email from the Comptroller with instructions on how to apply for the grant funds. If you did not receive the email or are having technical difficulties, please contact the Comptroller at

    For additional information about the SB 22 grant program, please contact Katy Estrada.

    Election Season in Full Swing

    Last month we took stock of a changing Legislature as a growing list of lawmakers announced they would not seek reelection. While there have been no further announcements, the Houston mayoral race made one thing certain: There is a new senior member of the Texas Senate — Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo). Zaffirini earned the distinction when former Sen. John Whitmire bested U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee in a Dec. 9 runoff to decide Houston's next Mayor. Rep. Jarvis Johnson (D-Houston) is among several candidates running to succeed Whitmire in the Senate. Gov. Greg Abbott has set a special election date of May 4 to determine who will serve the remainder of Whitmire's term.

    Next up is a Jan. 30 runoff to decide the special election to fill expelled Bryan Slaton's vacant House District 2 seat. Republicans Jill Dutton and Brent Money will compete to finish Slaton's term.

    Absent any further announcements, 18 incumbent Representatives, or 12% of the House, are sure not to be back for the 89th Legislature. The 31-member Senate will see at least two new members.

    The list of lawmakers who are not running for reelection or who have sought or are seeking another office:

    • Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), House District 6.
    • Rep. Kyle Kacal (R-College Station), House District 12.
    • Rep. John Raney (R-College Station), House District 14.
    • Rep. Ed Thompson (R-Pearland), House District 29.
    • Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria), House District 30.
    • Rep. Abel Herrero (D-Robstown), House District 34.
    • Rep. Andrew S. Murr (R-Junction), House District 53.
    • Rep. Charles "Doc" Anderson (R-Waco), House District 56.
    • Rep. Evelina "Lina" Ortega (D-El Paso), House District 77.
    • Rep. Tracy King (D-Uvalde), House District 80.
    • Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo), House District 87.
    • Rep. Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth), House District 97.
    • Rep. Victoria Neave Criado (D-Dallas), House District 107.
    • Rep. Carl Sherman (D-DeSoto), House District 109.
    • Rep. Rhetta Andrews Bowers (D-Rowlett), House District 113.
    • Rep. Julie Johnson (D-Farmers Branch), House District 115.
    • Rep. Jarvis Johnson (D-Houston), House District 139.
    • Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston), Senate District 15.
    • Sen. Drew Springer (R-Muenster), Senate District 30.

    Early voting begins Feb. 20 and ends March 1, ahead of the March 5 primary elections. The field of prospective replacements and key election dates may be found on the Secretary of State's website.

    For more information about this article, please contact Pete Winkler.