After much anticipation , Governor Greg Abbott released his agenda for the first special session of the 87th Texas Legislature, including 11 items of interest for lawmakers to consider.
While the Texas House had a hugely successful regular session, at the top of the list are two emergency items identified by the Governor in February during his State of the State address. The Legislature made some gains on Election Integrity and Bail Reform, but unfortunately failed to pass the two major bills covering these issues. Also included in the agenda are several items that are priorities for the Conservative grassroots.
Here's a recap of what is on the agenda:
BAIL REFORM: Legislation reforming the bail system in Texas to protect the public from accused criminals who may be released on bail.
ELECTION INTEGRITY: Legislation strengthening the integrity of elections in Texas.
BORDER SECURITY: Legislation providing funding to support law-enforcement agencies, counties, and other strategies as part of Texas’ comprehensive border security plan.
SOCIAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP: Legislation safeguarding the freedom of speech by protecting social-media users from being censored by social-media companies based on the user’s expressed viewpoints, including by providing a legal remedy for those wrongfully excluded from a platform.
ARTICLE X FUNDING: Legislation providing appropriations to the Legislature and legislative agencies in Article X of the General Appropriations Act.
FAMILY VIOLENCE PREVENTION: Legislation similar to Senate Bill 1109 from the 87th Legislature, Regular Session, requiring schools to provide appropriate education to middle- and high-school students about dating violence, domestic violence, and child abuse, but that recognizes the right of parents to opt their children out of the instruction.
YOUTH SPORTS: Legislation identical to Senate Bill 29 as passed by the Texas Senate in the 87th Legislature, Regular Session, disallowing a student from competing in University Interscholastic League athletic competitions designated for the sex opposite to the student’s sex at birth.
ABORTION-INDUCING DRUGS: Legislation similar to Senate Bill 394 from the 87th Legislature, Regular Session, which prohibits people from providing abortion-inducing drugs by mail or delivery service, strengthens the laws applicable to the reporting of abortions and abortion complications, and ensures that no abortion-inducing drugs are provided unless there is voluntary and informed consent.
THIRTEENTH CHECK: Legislation similar to House Bill 3507 from the 87th Legislature, Regular Session, relating to a “thirteenth check” or one-time supplemental payment of benefits under the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
CRITICAL RACE THEORY: Legislation similar to House Bill 3979 concerning critical race theory as originally passed by the Texas Senate in the 87th Legislature, Regular Session.
APPROPRIATIONS: Legislation providing appropriations from additional available general revenue for the following purposes:
enhanced protection for the safety of children in Texas’ foster-care system by attracting and retaining private providers for the system; and
to better safeguard the state from potential cybersecurity threats.