The People's Agenda: Notes on Public Opinion and the Special Session Call

With the passage of Sunset Legislation out of the Senate, Governor Greg Abbott kept his promise this morning, adding 19 items to the Special Session call, and opening the doors for a more entertaining (if politics is where you find your entertainment) July and August than many of us would have expected at the start of the 85th Session.

Below is a list of the added items and, where available, any relevant public opinion data from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. Links to graphics of cross-tabulations for each item is available in the links below, so, as always, feel free to share and/or use these graphics in any way you want.

Legislation to increase the average salary and benefits (including TRS-Care) of Texas teachers; and legislation to provide a more flexible and rewarding salary and benefit system for Texas teachers. (Cross-tabulation graphics can be found here.)

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Extremely effective36%
Somewhat effective35%
Not very effective12%
Not at all effective9%
Don't know8%

Legislation establishing a statewide commission to study and recommend improvements to the current public school finance system; and other legislation relating to school finance, including Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR). (Cross-tabulation graphics can be found here and here.)

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Redesigning the system of K-12 public school funding in Texas17%
Establishing a school voucher program in Texas4%
Continuing to limit government by approving no new spending and no new taxes16%
Lowering property tax bills for homeowners20%
Lowering business taxes4%
Increasing state funding for border security operations12%
Increasing funding for Child Protective Services13%
Don't know/no opinion15%

 

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Too much10%
Too little47%
About the right amount27%
Don't know/no opinion15%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Too much4%8%17%
Too little69%41%28%
About the right amount13%29%41%
Don't know/no opinion15%22%15%

Legislation to empower parents of children with special needs or educational disadvantages to choose an educational provider that is best for their child. (Cross-tabulation graphics can be found here.)

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Strongly support16%
Somewhat support26%
Somewhat oppose15%
Strongly oppose33%
Don't know10%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Strongly support8%19%23%
Somewhat support19%25%32%
Somewhat oppose13%14%17%
Strongly oppose48%34%19%
Don't know11%9%9%

Legislation reforming the laws governing ad valorem property taxes. (Cross-tabulation graphics can be found here.)

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Strongly support48%
Somewhat support29%
Somewhat oppose7%
Strongly oppose7%
Don't know8%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Strongly support30%54%65%
Somewhat support32%29%26%
Somewhat oppose13%3%3%
Strongly oppose12%6%2%
Don't know12%7%4%

Legislation using population growth and inflation to establish a spending limit for state government. (Cross-tabulation graphics can be found here.)

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Redesigning the system of K-12 public school funding in Texas23%12%13%
Establishing a school voucher program in Texas3%4%5%
Continuing to limit government by approving no new spending and no new taxes9%19%21%
Lowering property tax bills for homeowners15%29%23%
Lowering business taxes4%2%3%
Increasing state funding for border security operations4%8%19%
Increasing funding for Child Protective Services22%6%6%
Don't know/no opinion19%20%9%

Legislation using population growth and inflation to establish a spending limit for political subdivisions.

Legislation protecting the private property rights of land owners from political subdivision rules, regulations, or ordinances that interfere with, delay, or restrict private property owners’ ability to use or enjoy their property.

Legislation expediting the issuance of permits by political subdivisions and reforming the laws governing the issuance of permits by political
subdivisions.

Legislation preventing political subdivisions from imposing on private property additional or enhanced regulations that did not exist at the time the property was acquired.

(Cross-tabulation graphics can be found here and here.)

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Very favorable14%
Somewhat favorable33%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable25%
Somewhat unfavorable15%
Very unfavorable9%
Don't know/no opinion4%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Very favorable14%4%16%
Somewhat favorable31%30%36%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable30%21%21%
Somewhat unfavorable15%17%15%
Very unfavorable8%24%7%
Don't know/no opinion3%4%5%

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Approve29%
Disapprove39%
Don't know/No opinion32%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Approve15%17%42%
Disapprove57%37%25%
Don't know/No opinion27%46%33%

Legislation preempting local regulation of the use of hand-held mobile communication devices while driving. (Cross-tabulation graphics can be found here.)

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Strongly support67%
Somewhat support19%
Somewhat oppose5%
Strongly oppose5%
Don't know4%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Strongly support69%70%67%
Somewhat support18%19%20%
Somewhat oppose4%4%6%
Strongly oppose5%4%5%
Don't know4%3%3%

Legislation regarding the use of multi-occupancy showers, locker rooms, restrooms, and changing rooms. (Cross-tabulation graphics can be found here.)

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Very important26%
Somewhat important18%
Not very important14%
Not at all important33%
Don't know/No opinion9%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Very important19%23%35%
Somewhat important16%8%22%
Not very important9%22%15%
Not at all important44%32%22%
Don't know/No opinion12%14%5%

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categoryLiberalsModeratesConservatives
Very important13%25%36%
Somewhat important15%21%20%
Not very important9%13%17%
Not at all important56%22%22%
Don't know/No opinion8%18%6%

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categoryDemocratRepublicanTea Party
Very important17%32%47%
Somewhat important15%22%23%
Not very important9%17%13%
Not at all important48%25%17%
Don't know/No opinion10%4%1%

Legislation prohibiting financial transactions between a governmental entity and an abortion provider or affiliate of the abortion provider.

Legislation restricting health plan and health benefit plan coverage for abortions.

Legislation strengthening the laws applicable to the reporting of abortions and abortion complications to the State. (Cross-tabulation graphics can be found here.)

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By law, abortion should never be permitted.17%
The law should permit abortion only in case of rape, incest or when the woman's life is in danger.26%
The law should permit abortion for other reasons, but only after the need for the abortion has been clearly established.15%
By law, a woman should always be able to obtain an abortion as a matter of personal choice.38%
Don't know5%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
By law, abortion should never be permitted.12%8%22%
The law should permit abortion only in case of rape, incest or when the woman's life is in danger.14%28%38%
The law should permit abortion for other reasons, but only after the need for the abortion has been clearly established.11%10%19%
By law, a woman should always be able to obtain an abortion as a matter of personal choice.57%45%19%
Don't know6%8%2%

Legislation enhancing the detection, prosecution, and elimination of mail-in ballot fraud. (Cross-tabulation graphics can be found here, here, here, here, and here.)

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A fine, like a traffic ticket62%
A jail term of no more than 2 years11%
A jail term of no more than 10 years7%
Don't know/No opinion20%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
A fine, like a traffic ticket66%75%61%
A jail term of no more than 2 years7%1%13%
A jail term of no more than 10 years7%12%5%
Don't know/No opinion19%12%21%

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Extremely serious45%
Somewhat serious14%
Not too serious12%
Not serious at all27%
Don't know2%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Extremely serious15%58%70%
Somewhat serious8%11%19%
Not too serious20%16%4%
Not serious at all55%14%5%
Don't know2%1%2%

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Extremely serious35%
Somewhat serious27%
Not too serious19%
Not serious at all15%
Don't know5%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Extremely serious29%36%40%
Somewhat serious26%31%26%
Not too serious21%16%18%
Not serious at all19%14%11%
Don't know6%3%5%

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Extremely serious41%
Somewhat serious22%
Not too serious17%
Not serious at all17%
Don't know3%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Extremely serious24%52%53%
Somewhat serious21%23%24%
Not too serious20%14%13%
Not serious at all32%8%6%
Don't know3%3%3%

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Extremely serious39%
Somewhat serious16%
Not too serious13%
Not serious at all29%
Don't know3%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Extremely serious16%47%59%
Somewhat serious8%14%24%
Not too serious15%17%8%
Not serious at all58%19%6%
Don't know2%3%3%

The other items:

Legislation prohibiting state or local government entities from deducting labor union or employee organization membership fees or dues from the wages of public employees. 

Legislation enhancing patient protections contained in the procedures and requirements for do-not-resuscitate orders.

Legislation continuing the operation and expanding the duties of the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force to ensure action is taken to reduce the maternal mortality rate in Texas.

Legislation adjusting the scheduling of Sunset Commission review of state agencies.