Due to the census delays and the legislature’s failure to pass a handful of priority bills, Abbott stated previously that at least two special sessions will be called this year.
One would address redistricting and the distribution of federal coronavirus aid, and the other election and bail reform bills that died in the waning hours of the 87th regular session when House Democrats broke quorum by walking out of the chamber.
Abbott has since indicated other legislation — like that aimed at social media censorship and to prevent biological males from participating in female sports — will be included in one of the special session agendas.
While it seems likely election and bail reform will keynote its agenda, others’ place among them is uncertain. Abbott did not announce which items will be set for the July special session but said they will be announced shortly before the legislature convenes.
Another likely part of the first special session is the potential restoration of the 2022-2023 budget’s Article X funding for the legislature. Abbott vetoed that article last week when he signed the budget in retaliation for the House Democrats’ walk out, saying, “Funding should not be provided for those who quit their job early.”
About $410 million of funding was cut by the move, but Abbott said the legislature could restore it by passing the elections bill. That must be done before the start of the new fiscal biennium on September 1 to prevent a break in salaries for staff and members.
Special sessions can last for a maximum of 30 days, per the Texas Constitution, but do not have to last that long if the legislature finishes its tasks before that period elapses.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.