By Bill O’Neil
Back to work.
Governor Greg Abbott has officially called the Texas Legislature back to the Capitol for a Special Session that will begin July 18th.
The first order of business will be renewing the State agencies that were left in limbo at the end of the Legislature’s regular session.
“We should not be where we are today” Abbott told reporters Tuesday Afternoon.
A total of 19 items will be part of the agenda for the Special Session. A big part of the focus will be on education.
“I want legislation on my desk that increases teacher pay by $1000” the Governor said, also casting his focus on school financing.
“I want legislation creating a Texas Commission on school finance reform” Abbott said.
Property tax relief is also on the agenda.
“If we are going to come together and work this summer at taxpayer expense, then let us work on relieving Texas homeowners from out of control property taxes” Abbott said.
Perhaps the most controversial item on the agenda will be the so-called “Bathroom Bill.”
“At a minimum, we need a aw that protects the privacy of our children in our public schools” Abbott said, specifically pointing to the House version of the bill.
“It preempts local regulations that conflict with State standards. It also upholds federal standards that prohibit discrimination” the Governor said.
Senator Donna Campbell’s bill aimed at restricting the power of cities to annex areas–without those areas being allowed to vote on the move–will also be part of the Session.
“I want to reform and restrict the municipal annexation process in Texas” Abbott said.
With a Statewide “texting while driving” ban now on the books in Texas, Abbott is also calling for that to be the only law across the State. The Governor is asking the Legislature to effectively strike down any local bans, including the one enacted in San Antonio.
“We don’t need a patchwork quilt of regulations that dictate driving practices in Texas” Abbott said.