Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas on Wednesday formally announced the agenda for the special session of the Legislature that is set to begin on Thursday. The initial announcement came last month following the failure to pass one of the governor’s signature priorities for the session — a sweeping election overhaul bill that would have been one of the most restrictive voting laws in the country — when Democratic state lawmakers staged a dramatic late-night walkout that deprived the House of a quorum and temporarily killed the bill.
Texas’ election bill will be the first to come before a state legislature since the Supreme Court’s ruling last week to uphold two voting restrictions in Arizona. Though Democrats have vowed to keep fighting and haven’t ruled out breaking the quorum again, the overwhelming majority of Republicans in the Texas Capitol mean that election bills are likely to be passed.
Though the second attempt to pass voting measures will likely be the top priority for Republicans, the agenda put forward by Abbott also addresses other areas that did not pass during the regular session. The governor has called for conservative measures combating perceived “censorship” on social media platforms; banning the teaching of “critical race theory” in public schools; further limiting abortions; putting in place new border security policies; and restricting transgender athletes from competing in school sports. Abbott also put border security and restoring funding to the Legislative branch — which he vetoed last month — on the special session agenda, along with more dedicated funding for property tax relief and cybersecurity.
“The 87th Legislative Session was a monumental success for the people of Texas, but we have unfinished business to ensure that Texas remains the most exceptional state in America,” Abbott said in a statement. “Two of my emergency items, along with other important legislation, did not make it to my desk during the regular session, and we have a responsibility to finish the job on behalf of all Texans.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick pledged to complete Mr. Abbott’s agenda and emphasized his commitment to passing a voting bill.
“We are ready to pass all of the legislation on Gov. Abbott’s Special Session call starting with #SB1 — Election Security,” Patrick wrote on Twitter. “Hearings will begin Saturday.”