Colleyville, Texas June 8, 2017
Governor Greg Abbott recently announced a special session of the Texas Legislature to begin on July 18th. For those who do not know, a special session can only convene at the Governor’s order, and the legislature may only address issues expressly stated by the Governor.
The regular session ended May 29th with one critical piece of work left undone–the reauthorization of the Texas Medical Board and the statutes regulating the delivery of medical care in our state. This must-pass legislation died in the Texas House on the last day for that chamber to pass out bills for consideration by the Senate.
Lt. Governor Patrick made it clear the Texas Senate would redouble our efforts and save this critical legislation if House leadership gave its members an opportunity to vote on a number of priorities the Senate had sent over. In the end, these priorities were left unsatisfied, and the Texas Medical Board reauthorization was not accomplished.
So here we are today. Gov. Abbott’s first special session item is the Texas Medical Board reauthorization. Once that bill has successfully passed out of the Senate, he has stated he will add all of the following items to the list of issues the legislature can address:
1. Teacher pay increase of $1,000 from existing appropriations to schools
2. Greater flexibility in hiring/firing teachers for school districts
3. Commission to study/make recommendations for overhaul of school finance system
4. School choice for special needs students
5. Property tax reform with strong rollback provision
6. Caps on state and local spending (cannot exceed growth in population and inflation)
7. Preventing cities from regulating what property owners do with trees on private land
8. Preventing local governments from changing rules midway through construction projects
9. Speeding up local government permitting process
10. Municipal annexation reform
11. Complete preemption of related local ordinances for the just-passed statewide texting and driving ban
12. Women’s Privacy Act
13. Prohibition of taxpayer dollars to collect union dues
14. Prohibition of local taxpayer funding for abortion providers
15. Prohibition on private insurance subsidizing abortion
16. Strengthening abortion reporting requirements when health complications arise
17. Strengthening patient protections relating to do-not-resuscitate orders
18. Cracking down on mail-in ballot fraud
19. Extending maternal mortality task force
A special session only lasts 30 days, but the people of Texas have spoken clearly on these issues, especially on property tax reform. The Texas Senate passed out bills addressing almost all of these issues during the regular session, and I am confident we will do so again.
If you have any questions, or want to provide any input on these items, please reach out to my office and let my staff know!