AUSTIN, Texas - Gov. Abbott is calling for state lawmakers to return to Austin for a Special Session. The crisis on the border appears to be moving up the date, and dealing with that situation may briefly move the school choice issue to the back burner.
Oct. 9 is the date being talked about for the start of the Special Session. Initially, many were expecting it to start around the middle of October, and the focus was only on passing a school choice-plan.
Now it appears the border crisis could be the first big issue up for debate in this October Special Session. It is believed the migrant surge across the Rio Grande may take up the first part of the Special Session.
NEWS FROM THE BORDER
- Texas border receives resources in response to new migrant surge
- Texas border: Judge orders Texas to remove floating barrier from waters of US-Mexico border
- Another migrant bus from Texas arrives in LA
A reboot of a Bill to create a new DPS border patrol unit is possible. Another idea being pitched is a special Texas migrant worker Photo ID card with a tracking chip.
While those are still up in the air, the governor has said the special session call will have lawmakers looking into a growing immigrant community in southeast Texas called Colony Ridge.
Some have described it as an illegal pop-up sanctuary city. Gov. Abbott was asked about Colony Ridge Wednesday while speaking with FOX News.
"So, when we have a special session and have bills proposed dealing with it, we're going to have legislative hearings," Gov. Abbott said. "And that will surface the information about whether those allegations are true or not. And if they're true, what we can do to stop it."
- Government shutdown 2023: How it affects Texans
- Ken Paxton wants back pay for suspension period prior to impeachment trial
- Texas drag ban ruled unconstitutional; federal judge issues permanent injunction
- This Week in Texas Politics: Ken Paxton acquittal
The governor can add topics to his call during the Special Session.
"I think there could be things added," said State Rep. Stephanie Klick (R - Fort Worth). "You know, when the governor vetoed some bills back during the regular session, he said that he would entertain further discussion in a special session in the future once property tax reform legislation was passed."
Rep. Klick chairs the House Public Health Committee; she believes another crisis involving medical marijuana should be included in the call. She wants to discuss legislation to regulate hemp products like Delta 8.
"We know that there have been increased calls to poison control centers with children getting access to these hemp-based products," Klick said. "These are unregulated. Many of the products are not even tested."
Klick also wants to expand the rules for compassionate use medical marijuana to help those with medical conditions that do not qualify for a prescription.
"There are folks that are going to the unregulated products because they've got conditions that may not currently be on the approved list of conditions to participate in the compassionate use program," said Klick.
Any topic on Abbott’s Special Session Call will have to survive a different kind of political gauntlet. The long-standing rift between House & Senate Republicans increased during the Ken Paxton impeachment trial and the fallout with Paxton’s acquittal. She understands the lingering personal bitterness could be a distraction and sidetrack a lot of issues.
"You know, that's always possible. But I'm hoping that being professionals that will go forward and tackle the big issues for the people that we represent here in Texas," said Klick.
The school choice debate may not ramp up until the middle of October. An indication of that is an event set to take place Oct. 12 in Austin.
The governor will take part in what’s promoted as a "Parent Leadership Summit" sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. On Oct. 15, Abbott is also urging church members to take part in a call your lawmaker campaign.