With each year, the news in Dallas seems to introduce as many questions as it does answers. Bills filed in the Texas legislature, elections, proposed ordinances, all-day city council committee hearings and things of that nature are all certainly notable in their own way, but for the most part, we have to wait to learn what will eventually become of them and how they will impact our everyday lives.
Simply put, there are always reasons to look ahead to what a new year might bring to those who follow the news in Dallas. Here’s a peek into what we’re wondering about in 2023.
Where Have All the House Bills Gone?
If the holidays and the Dallas Cowboys season aren't enough to keep you plenty occupied during the final couple of months of a given year, then staying on top of all the bills that get pre-filed for the next Texas house legislative session is always a great way to keep busy. Beginning on Jan. 10, when the Capitol fills up with state reps ready for battle, bills ranging from legalizing sports betting
to those on both sides of the abortion debate
will run the gauntlet with varying degrees of speed and success.
Of course, many bills up for debate involve some of the most polarizing issues facing the public today, especially those dealing with the LGBTQ community. The house will look into bills for gender-affirming care
for trans youth, whether venues that host drag shows should be considered sexually oriented businesses and even the criminalization
of homosexuality. Not to be overlooked, laws regarding student loans
are in the mix as well, and lest we forget, we’ll find out whether or not Austin will cease to be an actual city
A New Mayor or the Same One?
Eric Johnson, the current mayor of Dallas, has announced he intends to run for re-election in 2023. He’s sitting on a bunch of money and some high-profile endorsements for the effort. Former Dallas ISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa
has said he will not be running. With the election scheduled for May, the drama might ramp up a bit, but incumbent mayors in Dallas have fared pretty well historically. That's one of the reported reasons Hinojosa is staying out of this race and perhaps eyeing the next mayoral election. Johnson, should he win in May, will be ineligible to run again, due to the two-term limit.
Will Our Wonder Boys Still Be Wonderful?
With each year, the news in Dallas seems to introduce as many questions as it does answers.
It’s hard to think of a time in North Texas history when our major sports teams boasted the type of transcendent young stars they do right now. Micah Parsons
of the Dallas Cowboys, Jason Robertson of the Dallas Stars and Luka Doncic
of the Dallas Mavericks are all 23 years old. Not only are they each young and their team’s best players, each has been mentioned as MVP candidates in their respective leagues for the current season.
We’ll know soon enough if Parsons helps the Cowboys avoid an early playoff exit, finally, and perhaps be named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. But it won't be until the summer that we see just how far Doncic and Robertson take their teams and whether they continue to live up to the (deserved) praise that’s been bestowed upon them.
What’s Happening at City Hall?
Regardless of who is elected mayor in 2023, Dallas City Hall and the decisions that emanate therefrom will continue to be impactful and worth watching. In recent weeks, we’ve been given a sneak peek into some of the topics that will grab attention moving forward: a decision on tighter regulations
for short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods, the possible nixing of open-mic sessions in front of city council and scooters
! Those electrified piles of brightly painted metal from a few years ago will likely return soon, but with a new set of guidelines handed down from city hall. Also, will 2023 finally be the year that builders have an easier time getting permits from the city?
How Will Schools Respond?
School districts are still recovering from the pandemic in numerous ways, including caring for students who deal with food insecurity. Low STAAR test scores and staffing issues, including teacher shortages, have been focal points recently and will continue to be. As long as governor Greg Abbott is in office, school vouchers and so-called “parental choice” will be an issue taxpayers must ponder, as advocates suggest this might finally be their year. And if we've learned anything from Keller ISD in 2022, it's that there’s little reason to think that battles over which library books
should be allowed and whether teachers should be armed in the classroom
will not be fiercely debated this year.
What Will Dallas Housing Look Like?
There are reports suggesting real estate prices in Dallas will indeed, finally, begin to decline to a degree, and while that is good news for some, it’s only part of what to look for in terms of where we live and how we end up living there in 2023. Rents have gone up tremendously, and so, too, has the eviction rate
. Restrictions on institutional buyers
is one way the city is attempting to combat increasing prices, and the purchase and development of more affordable housing is another. It’ll likely take data from the entire year to see whether the housing market is truly able to correct itself following the recent years of ever-increasing prices.