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Gov. Greg Abbott lays out items for a special session at a press conference on June 6, 2017. | Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

Abbott Officially calls Special Session, Allowing Lawmakers to Begin Filing Bills

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a declaration for a special session of the Texas Legislature Monday, formally inviting lawmakers back to Austin to pass “sunset legislation” that will keep several key state agencies open.

The long-awaited procedural move allows lawmakers to begin filing bills for the special session set to begin on July 18.

In addition to the formal declaration, Abbott also released a draft version of 19 additional items he plans to add to the special session agenda later on. Last month, Abbott announced that lawmakers would consider 20 total legislative items during the special session.

Lawmakers’ failure to pass “sunset” legislation during this year’s 140-day regular session forced Abbott to call the special session. Absent that measure, government agencies including the Texas Medical Board, which licenses doctors across the state, will have to shut down.

“With today’s proclamation, and with bill authors already lined up for all special session items, I look forward to working with the House and Senate to finish the people’s business,” Abbott said in a statement.

During the special session, lawmakers will return to several controversial issues that deeply divided the state’s Republican leadership, including a so-called “bathroom bill” that seeks to restrict which bathrooms transgender Texans can use. In his unofficial supplemental call, Abbott described that issue as “legislation regarding the use of multi-occupancy showers, locker rooms, restrooms, and changing rooms.”

Abbott also wants legislators to take on school finance reform, school choice for special needs students and several local control measures.

Read related Tribune coverage:

  • Gov. Greg Abbott is plotting an aggressive approach to the upcoming special session of the Legislature, diverting from his above-the-fray style to try to see through an ambitious 20-item agenda. [link]
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday announced he was calling the Legislature back for a special session to address must-pass “sunset” legislation and 19 other measures. Here’s what Texans can expect ahead of July 18. [link]

Author: ANDY DUEHREN – The Texas Tribune

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The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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