Abbott signs bill to restore funding for Texas legislative employees

By Cassandra Pollock, The Texas Tribune
Posted 9/18/21

Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill Friday that will fund a number of his priorities recently passed by the Legislature and restore funding for the salaries and benefits of some 2,100 state staffers, …

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Abbott signs bill to restore funding for Texas legislative employees

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Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill Friday that will fund a number of his priorities recently passed by the Legislature and restore funding for the salaries and benefits of some 2,100 state staffers, which was set to expire at the end of the month after the governor vetoed those dollars.

The legislation, House Bill 5 as passed by lawmakers in August, will reinstate about $316 million to Article X of the 2022-23 state budget, which funds the legislative branch of government, including various legislative agencies like the Legislative Budget Board and Legislative Reference Library. It’s effective immediately.

Abbott vetoed that funding earlier this year as retribution for the House Democrats’ walkout to block the GOP elections bill at the end of the regular session that ended in May. The governor’s veto did not impact state lawmakers, whose salaries are constitutionally protected.

The legislation will also add dollars to the budget to tackle items related to the state’s foster care system, retired teachers and cybersecurity. About $90 million will go to the Department of Family and Protective Services to help combat the state’s foster care crisis. And the Teacher Retirement System of Texas is set to receive over $700 million for the biennium to help implement a one-time payment for retired teachers and other school staff.

Funding for the Legislature was set to run out Sept. 1, when the next two-year budget went into effect, but Abbott and other GOP leaders announced in August that they had secured an additional month of funding, which bought the Legislature some time to pass legislation reinstating those dollars.

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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2021/09/17/greg-abbott-reinstates-texas-legislature-funding/. The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.

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