Exactly 24 hours before the special legislative session starts, Governor Greg Abbott has finally announced the issues that will be further discussed by lawmakers in Austin starting this Thursday.
“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,” said Abbott in a statement.
Both of his emergency items -voter suppression and bail reform- died on the floor after democrats staged a quorum-breaking walk-out before the bills could be voted, a move that gained nationwide attention.
As expected, Abbott included conservative priorities that did not make it through the regular session, such as de-platforming and critical race theory, but he also included items that are somewhat surprising.
Thought to be a move to prove he is conservative enough among his possible rivals in primary elections, Abbott added the exclusion of transgender students from competing in school sports to his agenda.
Other unexpected bills include border security, strengthening prohibitions on abortion-inducing drugs, the controversial veto on Article X, and the requirement for schools to provide violence prevention education, a bill initially vetoed by Abbott during the regular session but ultimately included in the new agenda, as the new version allows parents to opt their children out of the instruction.
It is worth noting that Abbott did not include any items on Medicaid expansion nor mentions the power grid, which has been flagged as a major risk for the upcoming summer temperatures.
“Instead, Abbot wants to pick on children, tell teachers they can’t talk about slavery, prevent women from accessing reproductive health care and infringe on Texans’ freedom to vote. Once again, it will be up to Democrats to fight for real solutions for all Texans, while Republicans play political games.” Said Rep. Chris Turner in a statement on behalf of the Texas House Democratic Caucus.
The first of the two special sessions scheduled for this year starts Thursday at 10 am. The session could extend for up to 30 days and Abbott’s 11-item agenda can also extend at will.
Here’s the complete list of the 11 issues announced so far:
· Bail Reform
· Election Integrity
· Border Security
· Social Media Censorship
· Article X Funding
· Family Violence Prevention
· Transgender Youth Sports.
· Abortion-Inducing Drugs
· Thirteenth Check
· Critical Race Theory