AUSTIN, Texas - Gov. Abbott called for the fourth special session to begin on Nov. 7 at 5 p.m.
The Special Session #4 agenda items include:
- Legislation relating to primary and secondary education, including the establishment of an education savings account program, the certification, compensation, and health coverage of certain public school employees, the public school finance system, special education in public schools, measures to support the education of public school students that include certain educational grant programs, reading instruction, and early childhood education, the provision of virtual education, and public school accountability.
- Legislation related to school safety measures and related state funding mechanisms.
- Legislation to do more to reduce illegal immigration by creating criminal offenses for illegal entry into this state from a foreign nation and illegal reentry or presence following denial of admission, exclusion, deportation, or removal; authorizing the removal of undocumented migrants from Texas; and providing indemnification and immunity for public officials, employees, or contractors in connection with the foregoing.
- Legislation to impede illegal entry into Texas by providing more funding for the construction, operation, and maintenance of border barrier infrastructure, and additional funding for the Department of Public Safety for border security operations, including additional overtime expenses and costs due to an increased law enforcement presence to preserve public safety and security in the Colony Ridge development in Liberty County, Texas."
The third Special Session of the Texas legislature ended shortly before 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7.
For the fourth time this year, Governor Greg Abbott’s school choice proposal failed to make it to his desk. House GOP Caucus chairman Craig Goldman was not ready throw in the towel.
"I'm not disappointed. Look, this is part of the process. And that's all it is. It's negotiating with all members, not only in the House side, but the Senate side to see what they're comfortable voting for. You know, the goal is to get a unanimous vote, especially of the Republican caucus," said Goldman (R) Fort Worth.
After the Session ended, House Democrats meet in caucus for about an hour. They emerged, still a firm no on school vouchers.
"Greg Abbott is the reverse. Robin Hood. He steals from the poor to give to the rich. That's why vouchers are a scam, and it's why they're unpopular on both sides of the aisle," said Round Rock Democrat James Talarico.
In pulling the plug on the special session, Speaker Phelan warned House members, it could be a short break.
"I am advised the governor will issue a proclamation later today to convene the fourth called special session early this evening. I anticipate the House will convene this evening sometime between five and 6 p.m. and again tomorrow morning," said Speaker Phelan.
The senate chamber was empty for much of Tuesday. Georgetown republican Charles Schwertner closed things out for Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who is recovering from pneumonia. House Democrats were asked if a quorum break was possible to stop school choice legislation from advancing in a fourth special session.
- Uncertainty remains over school choice legislation in Texas Capitol
- Draft bill hints at preparations for another Special Session on school choice
- Gov. Abbott confident a school choice deal can be made
"We never discuss what our options are, but it's important to know that all of our options are always on the table. But we take this with the wind at our back, knowing since the regular session and the three special sessions that have ensued thereafter, we have been united and unanimous against vouchers, and we'll continue with that position," said House Democrat Caucus Chair, State Rep Trey Martinez Fischer (D) San Antonio.
Along with school choice, a controversial border security bill also failed. The border legislation may have the easier path to the governor's desk.
"There's always room for compromise on some things against some aspects of immigration legislation. There's going to be room for compromise, some aspects of public education legislation, there will be room for compromise. But there are parts of it. If you don't have a support, you don't have a support. If you can't get to 76, you can't get to 76," said State Rep Richard Raymond (D) Laredo.
The third Special Session was not a shut out for the governor. Legislation that bans COVID-19 vaccination mandates by private business was sent to the governor for his signature.