A group of conservative Republicans in the Texas House have asked Gov. Greg Abbott to add eight conservative items to legislators’ to-do list in a special session. They also repeated messaging blaming Democrats for the failure to pass a number of conservative reforms, not mentioning, of course, how Republicans didn’t use tools available to counter the opposing party.
On Tuesday, the Texas Freedom Caucus—comprised of eight conservative state House lawmakers—sent a letter to Abbott requesting that he include eight additional items to a special session.
Included on their list is the ban on child genital mutilation and gender hormone therapy, a ban on taxpayer-funded lobbying, improved border security, educational freedom, fair play in women’s sports, monument protection, disaster response reform, and property tax relief.
“Governor, America is at a crossroads. As Texas goes, so goes the nation. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide leadership to the rest of this nation and to fight back against the left’s radical agenda,” wrote State Rep. Mayes Middleton (R–Galveston), chairman of the Texas Freedom Caucus. “We are confident that if we work together to pass these, and other conservative solutions to the issues our communities are facing, we will ensure the beacon of freedom that is our great State of Texas will shine even brighter for all of the world to see and all our neighboring states to emulate.”
Notably, some of these items are also legislative priorities of the Republican Party of Texas.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made a similar request in the waning days of the 87th Legislative Session when three of his own priorities died in the House of Representatives. These included his version of a ban on taxpayer-funded lobbying focused on local jurisdictions, a bill seeking to stop social media censorship, and protections for women’s sports. At that time, 15 House Republican lawmakers, including the Freedom Caucus, voiced their support for a special session on those items.
In the letter to Abbott, Middleton adds, “Nevertheless, we share your frustration that other conservative priorities did not pass this session, including those which died on the floor of the House due to the obstructionism of the Texas Democratic Party.”
This correlates to the messaging most Republicans are using to explain why several of these priorities died. It is only somewhat correct.
The Legislature is controlled by Republicans and has been for the last two decades. How the limited time allowed in a regular session is used is completely up to the party in power, barring several self-imposed rules and a few constitutional provisions. The Republican-controlled Legislature chose not to consider emergency legislative items of Abbott’s within the first 60 days of the legislative session, even though the Texas Constitution allows them to do so before any other bill once the governor identifies those priorities.
It’s true that House Democrat lawmakers engaged in “quorum-busting” when the omnibus election integrity bill was being considered on the House floor. However, in response, House Republican leadership did not use the tools available to them to stop it.
Upcoming Special Session
Abbott announced there would be a special session starting July 8, but he has not yet said what the agenda will be.
Since the end of the regular 87th Legislative Session on May 31, he has made several statements indicating he intends to include issues like election integrity, bail reform, improvements to the “ban” on critical race theory, and free-speech protections on social media platforms.
For more information on the final disposition of several legislative priorities in the 87th Legislative Session, be sure to check out our autopsy reports.
You can find an overall summary of the regular 87th Legislative Session, you can find that here.