As the third special legislative session comes to a close, lawmakers have only passed measures for two of the four items on the governor’s call.

The governor asked lawmakers to address border security, school choice, Colony Ridge, and COVID-19 employer vaccine mandates.

The only two items with legislation passed and sent to the governor were COVID-19 mandates and one border security measure increasing criminal penalties for human smuggling and operating a stash house.

Senate Bill 7 by State Sen. Mayes Middleton (R-Galveston) will prohibit employers from “adopt[ing] or enforc[ing] a mandate requiring an employee, contractor, applicant for employment, or applicant for a contract position to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment or a contract position.” 

The Senate passed the measure in a matter of days and then sent it to the House, which passed an updated version.

Under the House’s version, employers are subject to a $50,000 fine by the Texas Workforce Commission if the measure is violated. 

The measure was signed in the Senate on October 31 and in the House on November 1. It was sent to Abbott on November 2 and now awaits his signature.

Senate Bill 4 by State Sen. Pete Flores (R–Pleasanton) will increase penalties for human smuggling and operating a stash house. It establishes a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for violations.

Similar measures were proposed in both the regular and first special session but failed to pass both chambers of the Republican-dominated Legislature.

This bill was also signed by the Senate on October 31, by the House on November 1, and sent to the governor for signing on November 2.

Although legislation was proposed to allow Texas to remove illegal aliens from the state, the House and Senate have not agreed on the wording of the legislation. 

Meanwhile, although Abbott has pushed school choice for months, all proposed school choice legislation is likely to die when the special session ends on November 7.

As for Colony Ridge, committee hearings were held in both chambers, but no legislation gained traction in either chamber.  

The special session ends on Tuesday, November 7. The House is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. and the Senate at 4 p.m.

Soli Rice

A journalist for Texas Scorecard, Soli is a new Texan with a passion for politics. She's excited to hone her writing skills and help spread truth to Texans.