The 87th Texas Legislature convened in Austin Tuesday, with the House and Senate gaveling in at noon in their respective chambers.
With most legislators wearing masks and limited guests allowed in the chambers the traditional opening ceremonies were somewhat subdued, but the normal order of business continued. Members were sworn in by the Texas Secretary of State.
After a bipartisan set of nominating speeches, the House quickly elected Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) as its House speaker, with no other members nominated, and on near-unanimous vote.
In his comments to the House, Phelan spoke of the enormous challenges before the legislature, including COVID-19 and its effects on the economy and the state budget. He noted that children and educators must be at the forefront of the legislative agenda this session.
Senate activities included swearing in of re-elected and newly-elected senators, and remarks from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Sen. Brian Birdwell was selected as Senate president pro tempore.
Gov. Greg Abbott, accompanied by his wife Cecilia, spoke briefly to both the House and Senate.
Both bodies intend to discuss and vote on their procedural rules later this week, then adjourn until Tuesday, Jan. 26.