The summer break for Texas lawmakers will have to wait, as a special session has been called by the governor, sending lawmakers back to work to finish working on legislation from the recently convened 86th legislative session.
On Tuesday, June 6, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called a special session of the state Legislature with a list of 20 priorities for lawmakers to work on, including but not limited to the state’s controversial “bathroom bill,” a pay raise for Texas teachers, and school finance reform.
Abbott announced his decision during a news conference in Austin almost a week after the 86th legislative session ended.
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has been a supporter of calling the special session to allow lawmakers to settle issues left unresolved, most notably throwing his support behind the bill requiring people to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificate.
According to Abbott, the legislators’ priority should be addressing funding for the Texas Medical Board, as well as keeping the state agency running. He also said after a funding measure passes, lawmakers will look other issues such teacher pay increases, school choice for special needs children, and pro-life initiatives.
The complete list provided by Abbott’s office of the governor’s priorities for the special session includes sunset legislation, teacher pay increase of $1,000, administrative flexibility in teacher hiring and retention practices, school finance reform commission, school choice for special needs students, property tax reform, caps on state and local spending, preventing cities from regulating what property owners do with trees on private land, preventing local governments from changing rules midway through construction projects, speeding up local government permitting process, municipal annexation reform, texting while driving preemption, privacy, prohibition of taxpayer dollars to collect union dues, prohibition of taxpayer funding for abortion providers, pro-life insurance reform, strengthening abortion reporting requirements when health complications arise, strengthening patient protections relating to do-not-resuscitate orders, cracking down on mail-in ballot fraud, and extending maternal mortality task force.
The special session of the Texas legislator will begin Tuesday, July 18 and will last for 30 days.