Gov. Abbott announces 2nd Special Session

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(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Governor Greg Abbott announced the start date and the agenda for the second special session for the Texas Legislature.

The session will start at 12 p.m. Saturday, August 7th.

The agenda set forth by Gov. Abbott includes 17 items, including bail reform, federal relief appropriations, and election integrity.

That last item sparked Texas democratic lawmakers to leave the state during the first special session, keeping republican lawmakers from being able to pass the bill.

Democrats say the bill aims to restrict the rights of voters, especially minority voters. Republicans dispute that and say the bill makes the election process in Texas more secure.

Gov. Abbott has said in the past that he will keep calling for special sessions until the democrats return to do their job. The Democratic lawmakers have not said when or if they will return for the second session.

Other items on the agenda are:

EDUCATION: Legislation providing strategies for public-school education in prekindergarten through twelfth grade during the COVID-19 pandemic, which ensures:

  • students receive a high-quality education and progress in their learning;
  • in-person learning is available for any student whose parent wants it;
  • the wearing of face coverings is not mandatory; and
  • COVID-19 vaccinations are always voluntary.

BORDER SECURITY: Legislation enhancing criminal laws or providing funding from unappropriated available revenues 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 and email users from being censored 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 from unappropriated available revenues 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 arc 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 unappropriated available revenues for the following purposes:

  • property-tax relief;
  • 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.

PRIMARY ELECTIONS: Legislation modifying the filing periods and related election dates, including any runoffs, for primary elections held in Texas in 2022.

RADIOACTIVE WASTE: Legislation reforming the laws governing radioactive waste to protect the safety of Texans, including by further limiting the ability to store and transport high-level radioactive materials in this state.

EMPLOYMENT: Legislation shielding private employers and employees from political subdivision rules, regulations, ordinances, and other actions that require any terms of employment that exceed or conflict with federal or state law relating to any form of employment leave, hiring practices, employment benefits, or scheduling practices.

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