Rumors had abounded for months that Governor Abbott was going to call a third special session to address so-called “school choice.”
The third special session of the year has officially been called by Governor Abbott, with the State Legislature to convene in Austin at 1:00 PM on Monday, October 9th.
After months of rumors that a third special session to deal with the topic of school choice would be convened this fall, the rumors were confirmed after a letter from Abbott to the Legislature that the Special Session would soon begin was leaked to the press.
The Governor made the special session call official today, asking the Legislature to pass legislation accomplishing the following:
- “EDUCATION FREEDOM: Legislation providing education savings accounts for all Texas schoolchildren.”
- “BORDER SECURITY: Legislation to do more to reduce illegal immigration by creating a criminal offense for illegal entry into this state from a foreign nation and authorizing all licensed peace officers to remove illegal immigrants from Texas. Legislation to impede illegal entry into Texas by increasing the penalties for criminal conduct involving the smuggling of persons or the operation of a stash house. Legislation to impede illegal entry into Texas by providing more funding for the construction, operation, and maintenance of border barrier infrastructure.”
- “PUBLIC SAFETY: Legislation concerning public safety, security, environmental quality, and property ownership in areas like the Colony Ridge development in Liberty County, Texas.”
- “ENDING COVID RESTRICTIONS: Legislation prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine mandates by private employers.”
These tasks come after the Legislature failed to pass any school choice legislation during their regular session earlier this year, with the Texas Senate attempting to pass an Education Savings Account bill in the form of SB 8, only to have liberal Republicans and Democrats in the Texas House squash the measure.
The call for “Border Security,” “Public Safety,” and “Ending Covid Restrictions” also follows the Legislature’s lackluster performance on these issues earlier this year, especially when no meaningful border security legislation was passed, including HB 20, a bill that would have created a “Border Protection Unit” and increased penalties for illegal entry, which was killed in the Texas House.
Governor Abbott has faced some criticism for the way he handled the border crisis, especially in recent days, as more information about the illegal immigrant “Colony Ridge” has come to light. This includes the revelation that the owner of the Colony Ridge project had donated $1.4 million to Gov. Abbott’s campaign. The Texas GOP unanimously passed a resolution calling for action on Colony Ridge.
It remains to be seen what, if any, meaningful legislation the Texas Legislature will pass on these four agenda items in the next thirty days.
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