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Lawmakers prepare to convene for 85th Texas Legislature

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ABILENE, Texas - Texas lawmakers are getting ready to get to work in Austin.

Next Tuesday, legislators convene in Austin for the 85th legislative session -- with many also paying close attention to the nation's capital.

"A lot of eyes in the Austin area are going to be directed toward Washington to see what changes in federal law might require changes in state law," said Ross Ramsey, the executive editor for the Texas Tribune.

This legislative session will also see new faces representing our area, with Stan Lambert serving as state representative for District 71 and Dawn Buckingham as state senator for District 24. Ramsey said they will be surrounded by helpful legislators from the area.

"It looks like there's a reasonable chance that some of the people at the top of the budget-writing process are going to be from West Texas, and there are West Texans sprinkled here and there throughout the process," Ramsey said. "I think you're going to do alright. It's always better to have more experience, but it takes some time."

Lawmakers and state agencies will be forced to deal with a tighter budget due to the decline in oil prices.

"What it means is everybody's not going to get what they want, and that's the case every time, but this time it's going to be more severe than it's been in recent years," said Dr. Paul Fabrizio, a political science professor at McMurry University.

Fabrizio said this year there's also the unknown impact Trump will have.

"Will he make a bigger effort to have federal troops on the border so the state of Texas can withdraw the state troops that are on the border and put them in other duties?" Fabrizio asked. "That might be one way we could save money on the budget."

Wednesday night, we'll take a closer look at the some of the issues that could become hot topics this session.

KTXS will be reporting from Austin as the legislative session begins.

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