AUSTIN, Texas - Governor Greg Abbott announced Tuesday, that he's calling state lawmakers back to Austin.
The special session will start July 18th with an unexpectedly long "to do list." The call includes 20 items to be considered in the House and the Senate. The main item in the call is a routine housekeeping Sunset Bill that got held hostage during the regular session.
The Sunset Bill is needed to keep the medical board and four other licensure agencies open. The Senate failed to approve it last month in an attempt to force House members to pass a tougher Bathroom Bill to regulate access by a person's birth.
“Because of their inability or refusal to pass a simple bill to prevent the medical profession from shutting down, I'm announcing a Special Session to complete that unfinished business,” said Governor Abbott.
The other items in the call include a $1,000 pay hike for teachers. A commission to study education funding reform, plus a school choice voucher program for families with special needs kids. He wants additional pro-choice -anti abortion legislation. A crack down on mail in voter fraud, as well as a package of reforms that out laws forced annexation by cities with limits on local powers to regulate home improvements. He also threw in the house version of the bathroom bill.
It's a lot to do with little time to do it Special Sessions can only last 30 days. The governor made it clear what he wants done first.
"Considering all the success of this past session we should not be where we are today, a special session was entirely avoidable,” said Abbott.
The Governor also said he signed the statewide ban on texting and driving, but he added the issue to the Call. He wants it amended to overrule all the other local hands free laws like the one Austin council members passed a few years ago.
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus released the following statement Tuesday after Gov. Greg Abbott announced that he is calling a special legislative session:
"I hope that Members will take advantage of the next six weeks to spend with their families after a long 140-day legislative session. The Members of the House will return to the Capitol next month ready to put their constituents and the best interest of the state first. The House looks forward to resuming our work on school finance and other challenges facing this state."
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued this statement Tuesday following Gov. Greg Abbott's announcement that he is calling the Texas Legislature back to Austin for a Special Session beginning July 18, 2017:
"I want to congratulate Governor Abbott for his big and bold special session agenda which solidly reflects the priorities of the people of Texas. Almost every issue he addressed today passed the Senate during the regular session and I am confident the senators are ready to hit the ground running to move these issues forward. The people of Texas have a right to expect that we will finish the job on these critical issues and I am happy to join with the governor in doing the work they elected us to do. I continue to be proud to serve with Gov. Abbott and look forward to working with him in the upcoming special session.”