The curtain fell on the fourth special legislative session in Texas on Tuesday, marked by a House adjournment without addressing crucial bills passed by the Senate.
Throughout the year, tensions within the Texas Capitol have simmered due to Gov. Greg Abbott’s insistence on passing public education vouchers – which once again failed.
The intraparty fighting has led to a lot of bills dying. The latest casualties, as first reported by The Texas Tribune, are:
- Senate Bill 5: allocated $800 million for school safety measures until 2025.
- Senate Bill 6: altered the timeline for election contest trials.
And most importantly, Gov. Abbott’s priority bill, school vouchers, failed to pass. While the House stripping vouchers from House Bill 1 was a relief for public school advocates, it also meant that additional funds for long-awaited teacher pay raises and inflation adjustments were at risk, as Abbott insisted on including vouchers in any public education funding bill.
With the special session officially concluding on Wednesday at midnight, the House’s departure without addressing pending Senate bills leaves them in limbo.
It remains uncertain if Gov. Abbott will follow through on his threat to call a fifth special session and when that might occur.
Fun facts of the 88th Legislative session:
– Lawmakers have been in session for 246 days – longest in Texas history.
– Gov. Abbott called 4 special sessions – unheard of before this year.
– Lawmakers had a historic budget surplus that started with $32.7 billion, which only continued to increase as the year passed.
– Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial was the first to occur since 1975, when State District Judge O.P. Carillo was removed from office.