Abbott Announces Special Session

by Marta Holmes June 7, 2017, 10:46
Abbott Announces Special Session

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday that the Texas Legislature will head into a special session on July 18 to take up 19 bills that failed to pass in the 140-day session. Since the Sunset legislation did not pass during regular session, it would basically shut down operations at the Texas Medical Board in September. Abbott hasn't said what he would place on a special session call, but it could include everything from bathrooms to ethics to sunset bills.

"If I'm going to ask taxpayers to foot the bill for a special session, I intend to make it count", said Abbott, who declined to answer reporters' questions during Tuesday's news conference.

Calling it a "patchwork of legislation", Abbott said that he hopes lawmakers will put forth broader legislation to pre-empt local regulation, which is often stricter than the state's new law.

"Taxpayers know the truth, property tax bills are rising too quickly", said Senator Paul Bettencourt.

Ironically, the only one of these groups who appears to be using the special session to fundraise is Texas Values.

The Governor said, "Texans need property tax reform right now". Abbott is including 20 items on the call - a tall order for a time-limited session.

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Abbott criticized lawmakers for failing to finish their business and said they have six weeks to prepare for the special session, which can last up to 30 days.

Though legislation regarding protecting privacy in school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers passed with bipartisan support in the Senate, Jonathan Saenz of Texas Values says a companion bill in the House snarled and was unsettled when the session recently ended. An overtime round, Abbott said, was "entirely avoidable".

Legislators will vote to increase teacher pay by $1,000 dollars, supplemented by Abbott's proposed overhaul of the Texas school finance system. He wants additional pro-choice -anti abortion legislation.

"I admit to being a little dumbfounded when I hear what sounded to me nearly like a call for a war against cities and individual liberty as expressed at the local ballot box", Adler said.

During the 2017 session, the Texas Legislature has pursued a slate of unconscionable anti-LGBTQ bills as part of a systematic effort to roll back the rights of LGBTQ Texans, piece by piece. Now, Governor Abbott wants to prolong this divisive session. Those proposals passed the House but died in the Senate during the regular session.

Tensions had flared when Republican Matt Rinaldi announced he had called federal immigration authorities on protesters in gallery of the Texas House of Representatives who Rinaldi said held signs saying they were in the country illegally.

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