AUSTIN — As the state Legislature prepares to reconvene for a special session in July, citizens are still wondering if Gov. Greg Abbott will have lawmakers address priority issues—such as protecting young women in Texas.

Earlier this month, Abbott called for a special 30-day legislative session after the Republican-controlled Legislature chose not to complete priority work during their regular 140-day session earlier this year. Abbott also has the authority to set the legislative to-do list for a special session, and though he has yet to announce the full agenda, many expect items such as election security to be on the list.

One priority in question, however, is women’s sports.

In the regular 87th Legislative Session, Republican legislators proposed state laws to ensure male students would not be allowed to compete on specific women’s K-12 interscholastic athletic teams.

The proposals came as school-aged girls across the country faced the threat of losing their sports scholarships and opportunities to boys pretending to be girls.

The NCAA currently allows biological boys to intrude on girls’ sports and even threatened to move championship games away from Texas if state lawmakers chose to pass the bills to protect women.

The proposals were one of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s top priorities, and though they passed the Texas Senate, Republicans in the House of Representatives killed the effort.

Immediately after the regular session ended in May, Patrick called on Abbott to give them another shot at those bills, as well as other failed proposed laws.

“Asking @GregAbbott_TX to call a June #SpecialSession today to pass #SB29 to save girls sports, #SB10 to end taxpayer funded lobbying and #SB12 to stop social media censorship,” Patrick tweeted. “The TxHouse killed these conservative bills that majority of Texans in both parties support.”

Then last week, Patrick sent out an email press release and petition, again urging the governor to include the women’s sports protections on the agenda.

“After decades of women fighting for equity in sports, it is shameful that [Senate Bill] 29 was even necessary. However, by trying to force girls to compete against boys in sports, the Democrats again have shown their detachment from reality,” Patrick wrote.

“Though this bill was killed in the Texas House, it is one of my TOP priorities for the next Special Session.”

Grassroots activists and pro-family organizations such as Texas Values have also called on Abbott to include the women’s sports protections on the list.

“[Women’s sports and other bills] died in the regular session because of those only interested in playing politics and it’s past time that the Legislature addresses them now,” Texas Values wrote in a press release.

Though the governor said back in April he would have signed the original protections into law if they had passed, he has not publicly indicated whether he will include them in the July session.

Concerned citizens may contact the governor.

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.

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