On Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott revealed his priority items and agenda for the special legislative session set to begin Thursday.
It includes much of the controversial legislation that did not come to pass the last session, including changes to election law, more critical race theory legislation, and limitations on county-level bail reform.
The list also includes border security, the revival of an anti-trans sports bill, as well as funding for the legislature — which Abbott vetoed funding for as punishment for an entrenched legislative session that saw Democrats break quorum to prevent a Republican voter suppression bill. (Democrats are currently engaged in a lawsuit with the governor over the veto in payment, which includes thousands of staffers.)
Noticeably absent from the list of 11 items is any sort of answer to Texas’ isolated and unreliable electrical grid, which has proven to be unfixed in the wake of recent blackouts and energy conservation advisories by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
Those blackouts came weeks after Abbott promised Texans in early June that, “everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas.”
“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,” said Governor Abbott in a statement released with the agenda.
Last month, expecting the return of Senate Bill 7 in the upcoming special session, dozens of nonprofits, watchdog groups, and progressive organizations formed a coalition to fight the voter suppression legislation.
The final draft of the bill that Democrats walked out on prohibited 24-hour voting, drive-thru voting and included a provision to overturn elections.
In a statement reacting to the released agenda, Rep. Chris Turner, chair of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, said Abbott was more concerned with pandering to die-hard Trump supporters and right-wing extremists than serving everyday Texans.
“Abbott’s agenda proves one thing: he is clearly panicked about his upcoming primary election,” Turner said.
“We have real crises in this state — hundreds of Texans died because the governor couldn’t keep the heat on last February, millions of Texans are still unable to access basic medical care and our COVID-19 vaccination rates have plateaued,” Turner said. “That’s what a real leader would focus on.”
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org