AUSTIN, Texas - Wednesday, Governor Greg Abbott identified 11 agenda items for the Special Session beginning Thursday morning.
One of the hot topics for this session will be the election bill after Texas Democrats walked out on the final night of the 87th Legislative Session to avoid voting on the controversial Senate Bill 7.
"Two of my emergency items, along with other important legislation, did not make it to my desk during the regular session, and we have a responsibility to finish the job on behalf of all Texans. These Special Session priority items put the people of Texas first and will keep the Lone Star State on a path to prosperity. I look forward to working with my partners in the Legislature to pass this legislation as we build a brighter future for all who call Texas home," said Governor Abbott.
The two emergency items including on the agenda were halted by the Democratic walkout:
Legislation aiming to reform the bail process in order to make it more difficult for criminals with a violent history to gain bond. This bill also seeks to ban organizations, such as the ones who assist protestors, from posting bail for individuals with a violent history.
HB 20 passed both chambers of the Texas Capitol initially, however, a final version was not voted on in the aftermath of the election bill walkout.
Senate Bill 7 was one of the most controversial items in the 87th Legislative Session. The debate on this bill lead to a walkout not seen in Texas politics in nearly 20 years.
The bill sought to prohibit ballot drop boxes and mail-in voting. The bill also limits early voting hours to between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., with the exception of Sunday mornings.
Republicans argue that this bill is one supporting election integrity, while Democrats have said this is a voter suppression bill particularly targeting voters of color and those with disabilities.
9 other items on the agenda include:
- BORDER SECURITY: This item concerns legislation providing funding to support Texas's border security plan. This includes law-enforcement agencies and other assistance at the border itself. Gov. Abbott has taken a firm stance on border security, particularly in light of what Republicans are saying is a mishandling of the border by President Joe Biden.
- SOCIAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP: Legislation safeguarding the freedom of speech by protecting social-media users from being censored by social media companies based on the user’s expressed viewpoints.
- ARTICLE 10 FUNDING: Legislation regarding the funding of the legislature. Abbot had said he will veto an article in the state budget that funds the legislative branch after the walkout.
- FAMILY VIOLENCE PREVENTION: Legislation requiring schools to provide appropriate education to middle and high school students about dating violence, domestic violence, and child abuse, but that recognizes the right of parents to opt their children out of the instruction. Previously, this bill was vetoed as it did not offer an ability for parents to opt-out.
- YOUTH SPORTS: Controversial legislation disallowing transgender athletes from competing in University Interscholastic League athletic competitions designated for the sex opposite to the student’s sex at birth.
- ABORTION-INDUCING DRUGS: Legislation that prohibits people from providing abortion-inducing drugs by mail or delivery service, strengthens the laws applicable to the reporting of abortions and abortion complications and ensures that no abortion-inducing drugs are provided unless there is voluntary and informed consent.
- THIRTEENTH CHECK: Legislation relating to a "thirteenth check" or one-time supplemental payment of benefits under the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
- CRITICAL RACE THEORY: Legislation concerning the ban of teaching critical race theory in schools as originally passed by the Texas Senate in the 87th Legislature, Regular Session.
- APPROPRIATIONS: Legislation providing appropriations from additional available general revenue for the following purposes: property-tax relief, enhanced protection for the safety of children in Texas’ foster-care system by attracting and retaining private providers for the system, and better safeguard the state from potential cybersecurity threats.
The special session will begin Thursday at 10:00 a.m. and could last as long as a month. More items could be added to the agenda as the session gets underway.
"Everything is on the table": Democrats mull options for special session, including another walkout
Abbott says he'll veto budget article that funds legislative branch
Special session expected after Texas House Democrat walkout over SB 7
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