Gov. Greg Abbott announces 11 special session agenda items

The Texas State Capitol pictured April 17 in Austin. 

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday the 11 agenda items that will be in the first special legislative session, which is set to convene Thursday.

This first special session aims to tackle unfinished items that died in the regular session when House Democrats walked out to break quorum and prevent the passage of an election bill, Senate Bill 7. Along with Senate Bill 7 is the bail form, House Bill 20, that also failed to reach the governor’s desk. Abbott deemed both items as “must-pass emergency items” during the regular session.

"The 87th Legislative Session was a monumental success for the people of Texas, but we have unfinished business to ensure that Texas remains the most exceptional state in America,” Abbott said in a press release Wednesday. “These Special Session priority items put the people of Texas first and will keep the Lone Star State on a path to prosperity.”

The 11 agenda items include:

  • Bail reform, or House Bill 20, which sought to amend the rules for the amount of bail and the release of certain defendants on a bail bond or personal bond.
  • Election bill, or Senate Bill 7, which sought to ensure election integrity, but critics of the bill called it a voter suppression bill.
  • Border security, which seeks to provide funding to support law-enforcement agencies, counties and other strategies as part of Texas’ comprehensive border security plan.
  • Social media censorship, which seeks to protect social media users from expressing their viewpoints and being censored, it would also look for legal remedies for those who are wrongfully excluded from a platform.
  • Article X funding, which seeks to provide appropriations to the legislature and legislative agencies in Article X of the General Appropriations Act.
  • Family violence prevention, which would require schools to provide appropriate education to middle and high school students about dating violence, domestic violence and child abuse. But it would also recognize parents’ rights to opt their children out of the instruction. This bill reached Abbott’s desk but was vetoed by him in the regular session.
  • Youth sports, which focuses on transgender athletes by “disallowing a student from competing in university interscholastic league athletic competitions designated for the sex opposite to the student’s sex at birth.” This bill, Senate Bill 29, did not get a vote in the House during the regular session.
  • Abortion-inducing drugs, which would prohibit people from providing abortion-inducing drugs by mail or delivery service, enforcing the laws applicable to the reporting of abortions and abortion complications and ensuring that no abortion-inducing drugs are provided unless there is voluntary and informed consent.
  • Thirteen check, which seeks to provide a one-time supplemental payment of benefits under the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
  • Critical Race Theory, which the governor seeks to further restrict and abolish after signing House Bill 3979 into law during the regular session. House Bill 3979 dictates how teachers can teach social studies in public schools. One provision stated that no teacher shall be compelled by a policy of any state agency, school district, campus or school administration to discuss current events or controversial issues of public policy or social affairs.
  • The legislation will provide appropriation from additional available general revenue for 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 to better safeguard the state from potential cybersecurity threats.

Special legislative sessions could last up to 30 days. The next special legislative session will convene in September or October to address redistricting and the distribution of COVID-19 federal relief funds.

@Chongyang206

news-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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