Speaking to reporters this morning, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that citizens will know later this week if he will call the Texas Legislature back for a special session to address work that they failed to complete during the 140 day session that ends today.
“I can tell you this, and that is when it gets to a special session, the time and the topics are solely up to the governor of the state of Texas, and we will be, if we have a special session, convening only on the topics that I choose at the time of my choosing,” said Abbott.
While the power to call a special session rests with the governor, Abbott’s hand will be forced at some point this summer as a result of the Texas House’s failure to complete its work before the session adjourned. In short, lawmakers failed in their basic duty of governing—allowing “sunset” legislation that would continue several state agencies including the Texas Medical Board which certifies medical licenses of doctors and nurses die on the vine.
Though House Speaker Joe Straus attempted to cast the blame on Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a review of the tape shows that it is the House that failed to pass a number of the “sunset” bills in their care while the Texas Senate passed all of theirs. While the Texas Senate could have fixed the House’s problems for them, Patrick had announced that he would only do so if the lower chamber took action to pass conservative legislation to reform property taxes and protect privacy.
After Straus refused, Patrick held to his pledge and refused to pass the House’s sunset legislation in the Texas Senate.
“Joe Straus caused a special session,” said Patrick. “I’m just allowing it to happen.”
Texans can expect Abbott to call lawmakers back relatively quickly in order to address the issues concerning the Texas Medical Board. Conservatives have already expressed that they will be asking him to add property tax reform, legislator ethics, and the Texas Privacy Act to the call as well.