Jan 10, 2023 - News

Houston's priorities in the 2023 state Legislature

Illustration of Houston City Hall with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Before each session, Houston leaders finalize a wish list of topics and concerns they want lawmakers to address.

Behavioral health

The city wants more funding for behavioral health programs and supports expanding mental health crisis resources so it's not only a law enforcement issue, according to Bill Kelly, director of government relations under Mayor Sylvester Turner.

  • The city also wants to see legislation that treats substance abuse, particularly opioids, as a public health issue rather than a criminal one.
Public safety

Catalytic converter thefts remain a problem, and Houston wants its ordinance to be a solution implemented statewide.

  • The city's ordinance forces prospective sellers to prove ownership of a catalytic converter before it can be sold to a junkyard.
  • Kelly says leaders hope the state will codify similar restrictions statewide.

Leaders also hope state lawmakers curb the proliferation of Glock switches — small devices that can turn semiautomatic pistols into automatic weapons — by considering them the same as a banned machine gun.

  • Yes, but: Gun restrictions are likely a long shot in the conservative Legislature.
Bandit signs

The city wants the state to raise the fine for bandit signs, which litter light poles and public right of way.

  • A bill passed the Senate in 2021 but failed to make it out of the House of Representatives.

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