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The 87th Legislature is officially underway in Austin. Texas lawmakers are meeting for their every-other-year session. In addition, to having to pass the mandatory bills concerning the Texas budget, lawmakers will also have to tackle redistricting for all Texas House and Senate districts, Congressional districts, and districts for various state governmental bodies including the State Board of Education.

The Texas House, in their first order of business on Tuesday, elected Rep. Dade Phelan (pictured, above) as House Speaker. The vote was 143-2, with four House members not voting. The two state reps who didn't vote for Phelan, according to the Texas Tribune, were Bryan Slaton and Jeff Cason.

Rep. Phelan is a Republican from Beaumont. He replaces now-former State Rep. Dennis Bonnen as Speaker of the House. Bonnen didn't run for re-election in 2020 and he allowed his term in office to expire.

In a brief address to his fellow House members, Phelan said in-part after being elected House Speaker, "We must all do our part — not as Republicans or Democrats — but as Texans and Americans. Let us unite in one common purpose to do what is right for the people of Texas."

For the first time in recent memory, the Legislature will have to come up with a biennial budget that will be a smaller amount of money than the current budget. Yesterday, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar told the Legislature it will have $112.5 billion in revenue available for general-purpose spending during the 2022-23 period. That amount is $440 million less than the current state budget.

The 87th Legislature continues through late May.

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