Bathroom bill, teacher pay increase on agenda for special legislative session next month

By Dee Thompson | Jun 12, 2017

AUSTIN – A special state legislative session to be held July 18 recently was announced by Gov. Greg Abbott.

The state constitution requires at least a 140-day legislative session, but the special session will address 20 items unresolved at the end of the last legislative session.

“Because of their inability or refusal to pass a simple law that would prevent the medical profession from shutting down, I am announcing a special session to complete that unfinished business,” the governor said in a press conference on June 6, as reported by KVUE. New doctors will not be licensed unless that bill passes.

More than 20 items are on the agenda for the special July session, including several controversial items like a bathroom bill, school choice and abortion. The governor wants resolution on the closure of some state agencies including the medical board, known as “sunset legislation.” State agencies will not be functioning after September if emergency measures aren’t implemented.

Conservative Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick pushed for the special session. In a statement, he praised the governor for calling for a “...big and bold special session agenda which solidly reflects the priorities of the people of Texas."  

Patrick supports a bill which would stop transgender students from using a bathroom designated for the gender they identify with, but would require them to use the bathroom of the gender they were assigned at birth.

Several items address reproductive issues, including abortion. An additional insurance premium to cover elective abortion is the subject of one proposed bill. Abortion complications would have to be reported, if another bill passes. Abortion providers would be stopped from contracting with local and state agencies, according to another bill. 

The governor is also asking for the elimination of local ordinances regarding texting and driving since that will become a state law.

Other items on the special legislative agenda include: a crackdown on mail-in ballot fraud, reforming property tax law, a $1,000 pay increase for teachers, caps on local and state spending, stopping taxpayer funding for collection of union dues, according to the governor's website.

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