Conservative grassroots activists from across the state are turning up the volume on their calls to Gov. Greg Abbott for a special session to pass the Lone Star Agenda, a package of conservative reforms intended to unite voters ahead of the upcoming elections. And with the scandal surrounding disgraced Speaker Dennis Bonnen, it couldn’t be coming at a better time.
The Lone Star Agenda includes the following 11 items:
1. Allow families to make mental and physical health decisions for themselves.
2. Stop wrongful removal of children from families by restoring due process rights for parents.
3. Stop local ordinances that interfere in private employer-employee relationships.
4. Increase protections for unborn Texans.
5. Improve election integrity (paper ballot backup audit trail; citizenship verification).
6. End taxpayer-funded lobbying.
7. End union dues withholding from public sector paychecks.
8. Protect Texas monuments.
9. Secure the southern border (interior enforcement to end the “magnet” effect).
10. Stop human trafficking.
11. Protect the rights of Texans to bear arms.
Leaders from various grassroots organizations gathered for a press conference in Dallas on Wednesday to further articulate their vision for the special session, which nearly 300 Texas organizations, SREC members, and other leaders called for in a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott in September.
“During the 2019 session, the Texas Legislature failed to pass an array of reform bills that would have protected Texans from the mad march from the political left, but they failed to do so,” said JoAnn Fleming, the executive director of Grassroots America – We The People. “To top it off, the mess Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen created remains. We need a special session to clean up all this unfinished business, and we need it before Primary Election 2020.”
Indeed, the recent retirement announcement from Speaker Dennis Bonnen after the fallout surrounding an audio recording of his backroom meeting with Empower Texans CEO Michael Quinn Sullivan has created an opportunity for Gov. Greg Abbott, who solely wields the power to call the legislature into a special session.
First, it would allow members to elect a new speaker and distance themselves from Bonnen, something sources say many Texas Republican House members are desperately seeking.
Second, a special session surrounding a conservative agenda could provide the slim Republican majority with fuel to head into campaigns in 2020, allowing them to run on real policy reforms rather than the thin, Democrat-driven results from the recent legislative session.
And with conservatives united around the Lone Star Agenda, Republicans in both chambers have much to gain after a legislative session in which none of the Republican Party of Texas’ legislative priorities passed into law.
Whether or not Abbott will embrace this opportunity remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure: grassroots pressure is building.
The full stream of the press conference can be viewed below: