School choice, abortion and bathroom access are among Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s agenda items for a special session of the Texas Legislature starting July 18.
Announced Tuesday, a special session is a convening of state lawmakers outside the constitutionally mandated 140-day regular session.
The Republican governor said the Legislature forced the extra inning by failing to reach a compromise on a bill that would prevent the closure of some state agencies, including the medical board.
The sunset bill is the first order of business. If and when lawmakers pass that legislation they can move on to the remaining 19 points on his agenda.
State GOP leaders, including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, said the “big and bold” agenda “solidly reflects the priorities of the people of Texas.” Democrats accused Abbott of crafting an agenda that appeals to Republican voters. The ACLU said Patrick held the sunset bill hostage to force the session so the Legislature would revisit issues on his “extremist agenda.”
Chief among them is the so-called bathroom bill, simply labeled “privacy.” Patrick was an ardent supporter of a measure that would prevent transgender students from using facilities that match their gender identity.
The agenda addresses health and reproductive care in several items. One proposal would require women to pay an additional premium if they want their insurance to cover elective abortions. Another would increase provider reporting requirements on abortion complications. Another still would prevent local and state agencies from contracting with abortion providers.
Private school choice, school finance and bills to increase teacher pay and hiring flexibility are also on the agenda, along with mail-in ballot fraud and property tax reform.
Here’s the complete list:
- 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 pre-emption
- 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
- Extending maternal mortality task force