Gov. Greg Abbott delivers his State of the State address in the House chamber at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Reporters from KUT and other public radio stations across Texas will be annotating his remarks.
Abbott will lay out his agenda for the 85th legislative session, prioritizing which issues deserve the most attention from state lawmakers, who are working with a smaller two-year budget. Abbott has kept relatively quiet ahead of his speech — it’s unclear how many items he plans to tackle and what items he considers the most pressing.
But, there are several issues facing the state, and some personal endeavors, on Abbott’s radar, namely establishing a convention of states, outlawing “sanctuary cities,” fixing Texas’ troubled child protective services system and implementing “school choice” — a voucher program that would help parents pay for private schools with state tax dollars. Abbott joined Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at a rally in support of these school funding changes at the state Capitol last week.
The governor is not expected to take a new position on controversial legislation filed this session: Senate Bill 6, also known as the “bathroom bill.” Strongly championed by Patrick, the bill would require transgender Texans to use public bathrooms that coincide with their gender at birth rather than their chosen identity. Abbott has been largely neutral on the legislation.
You can watch the speech below. (Gov. Abbott begins speaking at around the 1 hour 19 minute mark).
Tuesday’s speech could likely be Abbott’s final policy push before he switches gears to his 2018 re-election campaign.