Less than a week after the state Legislature ended a second called special session, Gov. Greg Abbott announced he is calling lawmakers back later this month. But while the agenda is smaller than previous special sessions, some GOP priorities—such as a ban on child gender mutilation—are curiously absent.
On Tuesday, the governor issued a proclamation declaring that the third special session of the year will begin on Monday, September 20, at 10 a.m.
Special sessions in Texas can only be called by the governor. They last up to 30 days at a time, and the only legislation allowed to be considered are items on subjects the governor puts on the agenda.
For this special session, Abbott announced the following priorities:
Legislation relating to the apportionment of the State of Texas into districts used to elect members of the Texas House of Representatives, the Texas Senate, the State Board of Education, and the United States House of Representatives.
Legislation providing appropriations from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), Pub. L. No. 117-2.
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.
Legislation regarding whether any state or local governmental entities in Texas can mandate that an individual receive a COVID-19 vaccine and, if so, what exemptions should apply to such mandate.
Legislation similar to Senate Bill 474 as passed by the 87th Legislature, Regular Session, but that addresses the concerns expressed in the governor’s veto statement.
SB 474, as referenced by Abbott, refers to a bill criminalizing the act of dog tethering. Abbott vetoed the legislation earlier this year, saying its current form could create tedious restrictions on dog owners. This issue did not appear on any of the previous two special session agendas.
Notably missing, however, are some conservative priorities citizens have demanded over the past year, including meaningful property tax relief, monument protection, and ending gender mutilation procedures and chemical castration in children.
Abbott has previously said the chances of passing a bill to ban child gender modification were “nil” in the Texas House of Representatives.
A ban on school mask mandates—which Abbott had put on a previous agenda—is also absent.
The governor has the ability to add items to the call until the special session’s conclusion.