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.