(KXAN) — As Gov. Greg Abbott prepares to lay out his priorities for the new legislative session, other Republican state leaders have already vowed to make this session a big one for conservatives.
“We’re gearing up to advance one of the most conservative sessions in Texas History,” said Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) announced at January’s inauguration ceremony.
Conservative-led bills filed so far include proposing using the state’s record budget surplus for property tax relief.
There are also proposals for rules to limit classroom discussions about gender and sexual orientation, restrict gender-affirming medical care for children, and restrict city and county help for out-of-state abortion procedures.
To measure the increasingly-red hue of the state capitol over the years, KXAN examined data from CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, known for its sometimes headline-making yearly gatherings.
Of the thousands of bills passed each year, CPAC’s Center for Legislative Accountability flags the ones it feels really advance the conservative agenda.
In 2013, CPAC flagged the passage of 12 key conservative bills. In 2015, the number went up to 26. In 2017, it was up to 34. In 2019, it was 45. And last session, CPAC noted 61 key pieces of conservative-led legislation.
St. Edward’s University political science professor Brian W. Smith said Republicans have benefited from redistricting over the last decade.
“They’re drawing districts that elect more Republicans,” Smith said. “Also, the Democrats have failed to capture any of the statewide offices. So when the lieutenant governor and the governor are Republicans, they’re going to push Republican policy and not get any pushback from an opposition party.”
Still, you might be surprised to learn when CPAC ranked all 50 states based on conservative policy in 2021, Texas ranked No. 26. Alabama came in at the top of the list.