In the aftermath of a failed special session, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has laid blame at the feet of the House leadership in general, and the speaker of the House in particular.
During a radio interview, Abbott directed blame almost exclusively at House Speaker Joe Straus and noted that nine of the items on his twenty-point list did not even receive a vote. When asked if Straus had any part in the blame on this, he replied, “Well, of course.”
Abbott has also stated that voters didn’t send the legislatures to Austin to hide behind things like “parliamentary procedure.”
“It’s clear by the fact that these items that did not pass, did not even get out of committee, that he [Speaker Straus] had some or total control over that process. But what we need to find out is we need the members to go back home to their districts. They need to hear from their citizens, from their constituents and their constituents need to let their members know about the importance of these issues,” Abbott said in an interview with KXAN.
Along with his harsh criticism and blame on the House, Abbott did not rule out potentially calling a second special session to address some of the issues from his agenda which the House failed to prioritize. Abbott specifically noted that he was most dissatisfied with the House’s refusal to pass substantive property tax reforms.
On Thursday, Abbott stated that after the House watered down the Senate’s property tax reform bill, passing the remaining legislation would “not have made any meaningful reforms.”
Abbott is right, and House lawmakers, most particularly Straus and his coalition, will have to go home and explain to their voters why they chose not to address their number one issue not once but twice this year.
Whether Abbott calls a second special session or not, every lawmaker will ultimately be held accountable at the ballot box in 2018.