Third call in three months for Abbott to call Special Session

Gov. Greg Abbott now has three requests to call a special legislative session in 2020.

State Rep. Steve Toth, R–The Woodlands, made the third request in three months for Abbott to call a special legislative session.

On Sept. 4, House Democrats called for a special session to address gun violence.

In response to deadly shootings in Texas, Abbott held roundtable discussions with state leaders, law enforcement, prosecutors, mental health experts and advocates on both sides of the gun control debate. He also issued eight executive orders addressing gun violence, and created a Select Committee on “Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety.”

After former Speaker Dennis Bonnen announced he was not seeking reelection in the aftermath of a private meeting with Empower Texans’ CEO Michael Quinn Sullivan in which he was recorded seeking help to target other Republican lawmakers in primaries, a group of conservative activists gathered Oct. 30 also calling for a special session.

It was grassroots voters like themselves who helped elect Republicans, they said, yet under Bonnen, few if any conservative issues were addressed during the 2019 legislative session. Their largest concern was voter fraud, followed by a lack of fiscally conservative proposals being passed during the session.

“A year ago, grassroots leaders put Texas elected officials on notice that our voter rolls are inaccurate, leaving elections vulnerable to fraud,” Daniel Greer, executive director for Direct Action Texas, said. “The legislature failed to pass corrective laws in 2019 when it was clear bureaucratic attempts to correct the issue were failing.”

Greer points to a September 2019 Texas Lyceum poll showing that 83 percent of respondents support paper ballot backups to verify electronic voting. The same poll found 84 percent of respondents support preventing ineligible voters from voting. The poll findings reflect “a startling lack of trust in the current election system,” Greer said.

In Toth’s Nove. 8 letter to the governor, he requested a special session “to select a new Speaker of the House and to address the legislative priorities of conservative Texans outlined in the Lone Star Agenda.”

“Texans need an ethical and active Speaker to take over the leadership of the Texas House of Representatives,” he added.

State Sen. Bob Hall, R–Edgewood, and State Reps. Jonathan Stickland, R–Bedford, and Tony Tinderholt, R–Arlington, expressed support for Toth’s request.

The Lone Star Agenda addresses 11 issues conservatives want the legislature to consider, which were shelved by Bonnen.

The agenda prioritizes family protections at the top of the list.

They include family rights issues related to parents having the legal protection to make mental and physical health decisions for their families without state interference, and to prevent the “wrongful removal of children from families by restoring due process rights for parents,” and passing legislation to protect the unborn.

Prior to the 2020 election, conservatives are calling on the Legislature to end taxpayer-funded lobbying, which Bonnen supported; and end the withholding of union dues from public sector paychecks. It also calls for prohibiting local ordinances from interfering in private employer-employee relationships.

The agenda also asks the Legislature to prioritize protecting Texas monuments, securing the southern border, implementing stricter human trafficking measures, and protecting the rights of Texans to bear arms.

Abbott’s office has not responded publicly to the two latest requests.

This article was first published by The Center Square.



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