PHOTOS: The 86th Texas Legislative Session Kicks Off

Jan 8, 2019

State lawmakers were back in Austin on Tuesday as the 86th regular session of the Texas Legislature convened. The day was mostly a big opening party: Family and friends of lawmakers flooded the Capitol for swearing-in ceremonies and celebrations.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick did not attend. His office said he was called to Washington for a White House meeting on border security. Gov. Greg Abbott addressed the state Senate, calling on lawmakers to change the school finance system in ways that rely less on property taxes.

In the House, Republican Dennis Bonnen on Angleton was elected the next speaker. He promised to bring "passionate people to the table" to work on the serious issues facing the state.

The public looks down from the gallery of the House chamber.
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT
Republican state Rep. Dennis Bonnen of Angleton is sworn in as speaker of the House.
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT
Lawmakers rest their hands on Bibles during the swearing-in ceremony.
Credit Julia Reihs / KUT
Republican state Rep. Drew Springer of Muenster takes a selfie with his wife, Lydia.
Credit Julia Reihs / KUT
Houston Rep. Senfronia Thompson, who seconded the nomination of Bonnen as House speaker, receives a standing ovation after noting her 45 years in office.
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT
Penelope Bonnen, Dennis Bonnen's sister, sings the Texas state song with her sons Sebastien and Luca.
Credit Julia Reihs / KUT
Lawmakers, family members and members of the public wander around the Capitol on the opening day of the session.
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT