One of the most controversial issues looming over the capitol dome for the upcoming legislative session is a proposal to regulate restroom use. Some ideas would limit access based on a person’s gender that’s listed at birth. It’s been made a top priority for the senate despite a cold reception by house leaders.
Wednesday morning, when FOX 7 sat down with Governor Greg Abbott he wasn’t worried the issue could derail the session or cost the state hi profile sporting events and conventions.
"For one, this is a genuine concern held by many Texans, that they want to see addressed, people don’t want me going into women's restrooms, and things like that,” said Governor Abbott.
FOX 7 asked the governor if he was concern that the effort could be considered a war against small children and if schools shouldn't schools handles the issue of transgender kids themselves instead of the state legislature.
"When I look at legislation I consider, is this going to promote the safety and security of children who are in schools, of women who are using restrooms, we just need to be smart about the approach we take."
Abortion is expected to cause another legislative showdown.
“I will be calling for criminal penalties for any entity that engages in the sale or transfer of fetal tissue. Also we will be looking to ensure, that we protect fetal tissue, that’s the subject of abortion, to ensure that it receives the dignity that it deserves,” said the Governor.
On the heels of immigration protests following the election of Donald Trump, Abbott wants lawmakers to help him back up his threat to punish cities and universities that adopt sanctuary policies.
"It can be imposed by withholding funding, it can be imposed by statutes that I hope the legislature will pass, that will impose real penalties, it could be requiring the official to lose their office, it could be requiring financial penalties on cities or counties, it could involve an injunction holding them accountable, there are all kinds of ways we could enforce this including veto by me of budgetary items that will be going to campuses that refuse to follow the law,” said Abbott.
With change coming to the White House, Abbott told FOX 7 he is anticipating change along the Texas border.
"If they fulfill that commitment Texas will then be able to reduce our forces and the expenditures we have on the border. But Texas will not abandon post we are going to maintain our effort to secure the border until such time as the Trump administration does the federal government's job,” said Governor Abbott.
During the campaign, Candidate Trump said he will build the wall on the border. Wednesday Governor Abbott said he believes Trump will follow through with that promise, but he also expects some modifications.
"I think it’s important to allow the Trump administration to get in to survey the topography land and figure out where they can place a wall and what they can do but I think they have an overarching goal and that is to make sure the border is secure."
Changes to the way education is funded and another round of business tax reforms are also topics that Governor Abbott is expecting from state lawmakers. Several emergency items are also expected to be announced when the Governor speaks to state lawmakers next month. He didn't go into specifics about his speech, but said the items he's considering involve education and public safety.