Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called a special session of the state congress Tuesday to consider 19 bills, including a “bathroom bill” and a must-pass sunset bill, to keep some parts of the government open.
The special session will begin on July 18 and the first item for consideration will be the sunset bill, the Texas Tribune reports. The bill provides funding for medical agencies, but it expires before the next regular session. Abbott required that the deadline be pushed back before any other legislation can be considered.
After passing the bill, the legislature could then move on to 18 other bills, including a bathroom bill that prevents transgender people from using bathrooms according to their gender identity, and an anti-abortion bill requiring women to pay a higher premium for insurance companies to cover abortions, Reuters reports.
“If I’m going to ask taxpayers to foot the bill for a special session, I intend to make it count,” Abbott told reporters Tuesday.
Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick lauded Abbott’s decision to call a special session, calling it “big and bold,” but not all Texas politicians were as amenable. Democrats threw a slew of criticism at Abbott, arguing that the special session’s heavily conservative agenda was only meant to rake in votes for his 2018 primary. (RELATED: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Signs Bill Banning Sanctuary Cities)
“Governor Abbott’s announcement today simply shows what an ineffective governor and leader he has been,” Democratic Rep. Chris Turner told the Tribune. “After providing zero leadership and interest during the regular session, the governor is clearly panicking and trying to shovel as much red meat as he can to his right-wing Tea Party base.”
Following the sunset bill, Abbott’s biggest objective is the passage of the bathroom bill, which never made it to his desk despite his heavily advocating for it throughout the regular session.
“At a minimum, we need a law that protects the privacy of our children in our public schools,” Abbott said in a statement.
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