Texas Special Session Begins: No Change In House Leaders

Governor Greg Abbott called the Special Session into order yesterday. The call currently only has one item on it. The Texas House and Senate are being asked to agree on Sunset Bill language for the Texas Medical Board. All Abbott wants is the date changed but under the Texas Constitution, the governor gets to set the topic for the call. The executive branch does not write legislation and is not generally seen to have the power to make such specific calls. Changes to the administration, funding, and powers of the medical board are expected to be included in the final bill.

Both chambers gavelled into session at 10 a.m. and were in session about an hour. The House was adjourned until this morning, but the Texas Senate held a 30-minute committee hearing on the bill before coming back together for another brief session.

Some Republican activists were hoping that when the Texas House came together there would be a change in leadership from Joe Straus willingly stepping down or by being removed by his fellow Republicans. Straus’ home GOP leaders had a vote of “no confidence” in him last week and asked for a change in leadership. No Republican stepped forward to make a motion to replace the chair.

A public disagreement has been ongoing between Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and Speaker Joe Straus since regular session ended.

After the sunset bill is passed the governor is expected to add 19 other items to the call:

  1. Teacher pay increase of $1,000
  2. Administrative flexibility in teacher hiring and retention practices
  3. School finance reform commission
  4. School choice for special needs students
  5. Property tax reform
  6. Caps on state and local spending
  7. Preventing cities from regulating what property owners do with trees on private land
  8. Preventing local governments from changing rules midway through construction projects
  9. Speeding up the local government permitting process
  10. Municipal annexation reform
  11. Texting while driving preemption
  12. Privacy
  13. Prohibition of taxpayer dollars to collect union dues
  14. Prohibition of taxpayer funding for abortion providers
  15. Pro-life insurance reform
  16. Strengthening abortion reporting requirements when health complications arise
  17. Strengthening patient protections relating to do-not-resuscitate orders
  18. Cracking down on mail-in ballot fraud
  19. Extending maternal mortality task force
 Currently, none of the three Republican Party of Texas priorities have been added to the list for this Texas special session. The Texas GOP is strongly urging the governor to at least add their top priority of constitutional carry.
Rumors have been swirling that the Texas special session will end after the sunset bill is passed. It is possible the Texas House could refuse to vote on any other bills or the Texas Democrats could abandon their post and flee the state. It would not be the first time.
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