AUSTIN (KXAN) — Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a proclamation Thursday announcing he will convene a second special legislative session on Aug. 7 to tackle 17 agenda items.
The agenda items to be reviewed in the second special session are:
- Bail reform
- Election integrity
- Federal relief appropriations
- Border secruity
- Social media censorship
- Article X funding
- Family violence prevention
- Youth sports (preventing students from participating in athletics based on student’s sex at birth)
- Abortion-inducing drugs
- 13th check (one-time benefits payment Teacher Retirement System of Texas)
- Critical Race Theory
- Appropriations (appropriating funds from unappropriated available revenue)
- Primary elections
- Radioactive waste
- State legislature (legislation relating to legislative quorum requirements)
The first special session was set to address some of these agenda items, but was stalled after House Democrats left the state for Washington D. C. creating a lack of quorum, halting the legislature’s ability to do business. The walkout by House Democrats was to protest the Republican-led push for changes in the state’s voting laws.
“The Texas Legislature achieved a great deal during the 87th Legislative Session, and they have a responsibility to finish the work that was started,” Abbott said. “I will continue to call special session after special session to reform our broken bail system, uphold election integrity, and pass other important items that Texans demand and deserve.”
State Rep. Jim Murphy, (R – Houston), chairman of the Texas House Republican Caucus, said he and his Republican colleagues are ready to get to work.
“We’re gonna get a 13th check to teachers, we’re gonna do something to help the foster kids, we’re gonna something about property taxes, these are things that matter. We want to get them done. There’s no reason to delay,” Rep. Murphy said.
Those items were included in the last special session as well, but were ultimately halted when the Democrats left for D.C. Rep. Murphy commented on one of the new items included in this session’s agenda.
“The idea of adding the issues of COVID. I mean, this delta variant is a real issue across Texas, whether it’s new rules, whether it’s new ways to deliver medicine, like we learned for telemedicine, during last session, pass some great bills to allow for that. It may be a money issue that we need to move some federal dollars around,” Rep. Murphy said.
Democratic State Rep. Jasmine Crockett of Dallas, one of the House members in D.C., said the Governor choosing to include COVID-19 items in this agenda is nothing more than a political game.
“If for some reason, we could find logic in the lege that we’ve not been able to find all session long, to the extent that we would say, ‘Hey, local officials could have local control and can make decisions when it comes to public health, about things such as masks, right, or school districts can make those decisions,’ he would veto it. This is nothing more than yet another red meat session,” Rep. Crockett said Thursday.
“He just wants to say the Democrats don’t care about COVID, and somehow blame us for COVID,” Rep. Crockett said.
State Rep. James Talarico, (D – Round Rock), criticized the other agenda items the Governor has included.
“I would love nothing more than to come back to the state Capitol and get to work with my Republican colleagues to solve real problems that real Texans face. But instead, Governor Abbott has announced a special session that is filled with conspiracy theories, conspiracy theories about stolen elections, conspiracy theories about trans children, conspiracy theories about critical race theory,” Rep. Talarico said Thursday.
While House Democrats in D.C. have not yet announced plans to return to Texas, Rep. Talarico said he’s proud of the efforts they’ve made in our nation’s Capital and hopes federal lawmakers pass a bill that would retroactively kill any voting bill passed at the state level.
“Even if we have to pass this voter suppression bill at the state Capitol in the second special session, whatever bill that is passed here in Congress in D.C., will be able to override that voter suppression effort,” Rep. Talarico explained.
Rep. Murphy, however, said the Democrats aren’t fighting for what the majority of their constituents want.
“If they listened to the Texas people, the people we represent, they want elections that are uniformly held across the state with consistent rules,” Rep. Murphy said.