As legislature reconvenes, a look back at 2016 in Texas politics

Jan 10, 2017

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick
Credit Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

The Texas Legislature gavels in its 2017 session today. To get the new session rolling, let’s take a look back at the biggest Texas political stories of the 2016 session.

As The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports, Dan Patrick took an aggressive stance on social issues last year. The Texas Lt. Gov. had a tense on-stage exchange with President Obama, where he questioned whether Obama had been sufficiently supportive of law enforcement. Patrick is expected to continue his social-issue focus in the new year, with a controversial bathroom bill similar that would ban trans Texans from using the bathroom of their chosen sex.

Meanwhile, last year Governor Greg Abbott made news by announcing his support for a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution, giving more power to the states.

And despite a nationwide GOP tidal wave, in the statewide elections, four House seats in swing districts were flipped to the Democrats.

State Attorney General Ken Paxton continually made news with his legal troubles. Paxton is facing fraud charges in multiple cases.

And finally, 2016 was the year Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller stepped into the nationwide spotlight multiple times. Miller’s name was mentioned in connection with a Trump cabinet position, but it was Miller’s embrace of fake news and his foul language on Twitter that seemed to draw the most attention. Miller also drew national criticism for receiving a controversial painkilling treatment known as a “Jesus Shot” while on a taxpayer-funded trip to Oklahoma.