“As Texans mourn the tragedy that occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde last week, we as a State must reassess the twin issues of school safety and mass violence. As leaders, we must come together at this time to provide solutions to protect all Texans,” Abbott wrote in a letter to Dade Phelan, Speaker of the Texas House, and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who presides over the Texas Senate.
The letter lists five topics for the committees to review: school safety, mental health, social media, police training, and firearm safety. The committees can consider other topics as well.
The new committees are to review the actions of past legislatures, resources the state can send to school systems, and potential recommendations for appropriate actions.
With the support of some Republicans, Democrats in the Texas Senate sent Abbott a letter on Saturday asking for a special session to enact new control measures.
Abbott had expressed some openness to the possibility of a special session last week.
Aside from the regular biannual schedule, the full Texas legislature can only convene when the governor calls for a special session. However, committees may meet at any time.
Patrick and Phelan have not publicly announced who would chair these committees.
After a mass shooting at a Texas high school in 2018, Abbott released a “School Safety Action Plan” that encouraged state lawmakers to consider red flag laws, which authorize courts to remove weapons from ostensibly unstable people.
While the facts continue to unfold, state police say the Uvalde shooter bought two semiautomatic rifles in March from a sporting goods store, passing a background check for the purchase.
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