Tuesday, January 19, 2021
As 2021 gets underway, so too will the 87th Texas Legislative Session, and this one promises to be unlike any other in recent history. The coronavirus threat will loom large, dramatically changing both the topics considered by lawmakers and the process by which they do so. Legislators will likely spend much of the 140-day session working on public health issues directly related to COVID-19, but the virus will also shape other issues, including the state’s budget. The Texas Constitution requires that the legislature pass a balanced budget, and with coronavirus-related shortfalls in tax revenue projected, it will not be an easy task. Lawmakers will not only have to spend a lot of time on the budget itself, but spending will be limited to the most essential services. Any bill that requires new spending will face an uphill battle, and advocates like the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association will need to be on constant guard for cuts to programs and services essential to cattle producers and rural Texans.