DALLAS – Texas lawmakers will return to Austin July 18 for a special session that Gov. Greg Abbott called to deal with 20 issues, including property tax and school finance reform.
The issue that forced the special session was the need to preserve the Texas Medical Board and other state agencies from sunset provisions that shut down any agencies whose charter is not renewed on a specific schedule. The Texas Medical Board, which regulates the medical profession in Texas, is considered a vital agency.
“A special session was entirely avoidable, and there was plenty of time for the legislature to forge compromises to avoid the time and taxpayer expense of a special session,” Abbott said in his written announcement. “As governor, if I am going to call a special session, I intend to make it count.”
Abbott also agreed to call for passage of a bill regulating which bathroom a transgendered public school pupil may use, an issue that has been at the forefront of a campaign by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Opponents of the measure say it simply a way to embarrass children who have undergone sex-change procedures and that any legislation could backfire economically on the state.
Other issues cited in Abbott’s call were: Teacher pay increases of $1,000; administrative flexibility in teacher hiring and retention practices; school choice for special needs students; 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; 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.