On the dawn of the Texas Legislature, bills have piled up on Abbott’s desk awaiting the final signature, however, none of those seem to be on the Governor’s top wish list for the 87th exercise.
Last week, Governor Greg Abbott announced two special sessions for the Legislature’s unfinished business, one set for the upcoming fall to further discuss redistricting and federal COVID relief, and the other one still remaining a mystery both on date and items.
Abbott had hinted on his determination to pass Republican priority bills such as voter suppression, but in an interview on Capital Tonight Monday, he said he’s still deciding on the timing and what other items he may place on the early special session agenda.
Besides his unwillingness to schedule the special sessions or to add items of general interest like ERCOT instead of GOP priorities, Abbott did disclose his intention to veto Article 10 of the state budget, threatening to stop paying legislators and their staff if his bills are not passed.
Lawmakers passed several bills which have long been considered Republican priorities, much to Abbott’s delight, who signed SB 8 banning abortions after detection of a fetal heartbeat and soon to sign HB 1927 making permitless carry a reality.
In the aftermath of the fatal winter storm, hundreds of Texans have been stressing the need to make weatherization a priority and to pass legislation that can prevent the tragedies endured in February, calling on legislators to act fast.
But regardless of the overall discomfort from citizens and experts who consider that legislators have not done enough, Abbott insists the power grid is safer than ever.
And while the Texan Governor claims that when it comes to the power grid, legislators are “pleased with the product they got across the finish line,” Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said that the Senate was not successful in providing relief for ratepayers, which was a priority.
Abbott’s top priorities do not seem to include saving Texans’ lives nor strengthening weatherization measures, and as we await the final schedule for the special sessions, Speaker of the House Dade Phelan already took a guess on the exact date.
“If the governor’s going to veto Article 10, then many of the support staff of legislators in here in the building will not get paid after September 1. So, I would assume we’re coming in before September 1st,” said Phelan.