AUSTIN (Nexstar) – In November, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick laid out a list of 21 priorities for the upcoming legislative session. While property tax relief and electric grid reliability topped his list, several of the Lt. Governor’s priorities emphasize rural needs, including expanding access to mental health care and bolstering rural law enforcement.

“When I traveled to 130 cities across rural Texas, it was the highlight of my life,” said Patrick of his campaign’s bus tour. “We do not fund our counties for the most part for anything dealing with law enforcement. They can’t handle it by themselves anymore…I (also) have a program, two and a half billion dollars, to build more mental health hospitals around rural Texas.”

Patrick places property tax relief at the top of his priorities. He is advocating to increase the homestead exemption to at least $60,000, a 30% increase over the $40,000 of a home’s value currently exempted from property taxes.

He says he and Governor Greg Abbott are “on the same page” when it comes to prioritizing property taxes, but their specific ideas differ. Abbott campaigned on dedicating half of the state’s unprecedented surplus on property tax relief, but Patrick has expressed support for less due to constitutional spending limits.

Half of the surplus would exceed the amount of the surplus that lawmakers are allowed to spend by law, and Patrick has remained committed to spending below that cap.

“If you look at the $12 billion we can spend constitutionally in the budget, we’re going to spend close to half of that on property taxes,” he said.

Watch the full interview here:

Patrick also cast doubt on the prospects for amended social laws including new exceptions of Texas’ abortion ban and legalized gambling.

“I’m pro-life. Every life is a life even through rape and incest,” he said. “I don’t think there will be a groundswell argument or a bill on that by Republicans.”

He strikes a similarly unsupportive tone on gambling expansion.

“I haven’t seen a bill even filed on it. I haven’t had anyone mention to me that they are interested in doing anything…a lot of talk out there, but I don’t see any movement on it,”