Will the Governor Call a Special Session?

By Bill O’Neil

Will he or won’t he?

All eyes and ears are on Governor Greg Abbott and whether or not he will call a “special session” of the Texas Legislature on the heels of the completion of the Legislature’s regular session Monday.

At least one political watcher said the Governor really has no choice but to call a special session after a sunset bill left hanging in the Senate.

“Which means from a technical perspective, there’s several agencies that would have to be shut down if this legislation isn’t passed” said Mark Jones, a Political Science Fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

By itself, Jones said the sunset measure isn’t at all controversial. What will cause plenty of debate though is what may be included alongside it during a special session.

“The Bathroom Bill is a very complicated issue for the Governor because it drives a wedge in between the Republican constituency of the business sector on one side and social conservatives on the other” Jones told KTSA News.

He believes the inclusion of the “Bathroom Bill”–or even a property tax relief measure–is no guarantee.

“If it (the Bathroom Bill) passes, it alienates the business community. If it doesn’t pass, he alienates social conservatives” Jones said.

As for the men men who are at the center of this battle that may be shaping up, Jones said Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick can already claim something of a victory, even if the Bathroom Bill goes no further.

“He’s signaled to social conservatives that he’s got their back, and he’s pushing their cause” Jones said.

In the House, Jones said Speaker Joe Straus has been bruised a bit by the process that has led us to this point.

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