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Texas Governor Greg Abbott sets second special session, with some additions to agenda

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A second special session of the Texas Legislature will start Saturday, one day after the current special session ends, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday.

On the agenda is “election integrity” legislation that has been a point of tension between Democrats and Republicans. More than 50 House Democrats broke quorum near the start of the special session to block proposals in the House and Senate they say would disenfranchise voters. House Democrats have been in Washington for about a month pushing for federal voting rights laws.

Abbott sets what items lawmakers can consider during their time in Austin. Also on the agenda is changes to the state’s bail laws to “protect the public from accused criminals who may be released on bail” and bills related to legislative quorum requirements.

“The Texas Legislature achieved a great deal during the 87th Legislative Session, and they have a responsibility to finish the work that was started,” Abbott said in a statement. “I will continue to call special session after special session to reform our broken bail system, uphold election integrity, and pass other important items that Texans demand and deserve. Passing these Special Session agenda items will chart a course towards a stronger and brighter future for the Lone Star State.”

Abbott calling another special session following the quorum break doesn’t come as a surprise. He’s previously said he’ll continue to call special sessions until the Democrats return to Austin.

Some of the 17 items on his special session call are repeats from the one announced July 7, but it also includes additions.

  • Bail reform

  • Election integrity

  • The allocation if federal COVID-19 relief dollars

  • Education bills that ensure “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

  • Social media censorship

  • Funding for the legislative branch

  • Family violence prevention

  • Legislation baring transgender student athletes from competing on sports teams aligning with their gender identity

  • Legislation related to abortion-inducing drugs

  • A thirteenth check under the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

  • Critical race theory

  • Appropriations for 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 protect the state against potential cybersecurity threats.

  • Bills “modifying the filing periods and related election dates, including any runoffs, for primary elections held in Texas in 2022.”

  • Legislation related to radioactive waste

  • Bills “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.”

  • Bills related to legislative quorum requirements

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