Texas school shooting: Gov. Abbott calls for special legislative committees

Gov. Greg Abbott is calling for special legislative committees after a mass shooting at an Uvalde, Texas elementary school last week.

Abbott sent a joint letter Wednesday to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan requesting the committees.

According to the letter, the committees should review what steps previous legislatures have made, what resources are available to local school districts, and make recommendations for meaningful action on the following to prevent future school shootings:

  • School safety
  • Mental health
  • Social media
  • Police training
  • Firearm safety

"As Texans mourn the tragedy that occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde last week, we as a State must reassess the twin issues of school safety and mass violence," reads the letter. "As leaders, we must come together at this time to provide solutions to protect all Texans. Accordingly, I hereby request that each of you convene a special legislative committee. I look forward to working with you both on this important mission to make Texas safer, and I stand ready to provide any and all support."

Only days before the end of school, a mass shooting devastated Uvalde with a total of 21 people killed including 19 children and two teachers. Funeral visitations for the 19 children killed began this week.


Lt. Gov. Patrick later announced Wednesday that a special committee would be convened in the Texas Senate.

Eleven state senators, eight Republicans and three Democrats, will serve on the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans, with state Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) serving as chair and state Sens. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) and Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) serving as co-vice chairs.

In addition to Nichols, Creighton and Kolkhorst, the following state senators will serve on the committee:

  • Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston
  • Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury
  • Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels
  • Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen
  • Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Tyler
  • Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock
  • Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas
  • Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo

Patrick says he has asked Sen. Nichols to hold a hearing on June 23 or a date shortly after in order to "give the families and the community of Uvalde time to complete all funeral services before beginning hearings so those who wish to testify may take part". 

Patrick has also requested an extension to apply for school safety grants from the Texas Education Agency through the end of the next legislative session. The applications were set to expire on May 31 and according to Patrick, there is still nearly $14 million in the fund that schools could still request.