AUSTIN (Nexstar) — State lawmakers are returning home to their districts Friday after officially closing the state’s second special session.
They passed Republican priorities including the controversial elections bill, $1.8 billion in border security funding and a stricter ban on critical race theory in classrooms.
Even with some bipartisan bills making it to the finish line, recent polling shows Texans are still not satisfied.
Polling from the Texas Politics Project shows more Texans are paying attention to the state legislature this summer. In April, only 50% of those polled said they were paying attention. In August, that jumped to 74%.
But, more attention doesn’t mean more approval. Overall, only 28% of those polled responded favorably to how the state legislature is faring.
“The approval level of the legislature was certainly lower than it was earlier in the year, as was the approval level of virtually all statewide officials that we tested,” Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project explained.
Governor Greg Abbott’s approval rating is at its lowest in five years of TPP’s polling, sitting at 41%.
Democrats said that’s because he’s catering to his conservative primary voters.
“Most of the energy was focused on red meat items, and not necessarily items that the majority of Texans really care about,” Democratic State Rep. Ron Reynolds of Missouri City said. “We really didn’t focus on fixing the grid; we could have focused on Medicaid expansion.”
But Republicans point to bipartisan bills that also made it to the finish line.
“Foster care is not a red meat issue… 13th check for retired teachers is not that… COVID relief is not that,” House GOP Chairman Rep. Jim Murphy said in response.
Ultimately, fighting between and within the parties have also affected Texans’ opinions.
“Democrats and Republicans have strong and intense, intense disagreements about almost everything that was on the agenda, and almost all of the major political stories that we’ve seen over the course of the summer,” Henson explained.
The bills passed during this special session still need to be signed by Abbott before becoming law.
There’s another special session right around the corner. That will be focused on redistricting, since this year’s census data was delayed due to COVID-19.