"Where conservative Republicans had trouble in the past passing bills, we will be a solid majority in the Senate next year — with the ability to block bills and set the agenda," predicted state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, chairman of the Tea Party Caucus, who supported Dewhurst over Cruz.
"We're going to take it to warp speed," Patrick said. "I believe this next Legislature will be the most conservative ever, even though I think we're already the most conservative in the country. The voices of the people are clear."
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, a former senator who has announced plans to run for lieutenant governor in 2014, agreed: "It will certainly be more conservative, although I wouldn't call it liberal before, by any means."
Bills that failed or faced rocky passage last session could find an easier path in 2013: pre-abortion sonograms, criminalization of intrusive airport security patdowns, changes in how the state deals with immigrants.