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Election regulation, ‘critical race theory’ among Gov. Abbott’s priorities during special legislative session

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 9:22 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 7, 2021 at 6:36 PM CDT
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AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott outlined his priorities for the state legislature’s special session set to begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

“The 87th Legislative Session was a monumental success for the people of Texas, but we have unfinished business to ensure that Texas remains the most exceptional state in America,” said Abbott. “Two of my emergency items, along with other important legislation, did not make it to my desk during the regular session, and we have a responsibility to finish the job on behalf of all Texans. These Special Session priority items put the people of Texas first and will keep the Lone Star State on a path to prosperity. I look forward to working with my partners in the Legislature to pass this legislation as we build a brighter future for all who call Texas home.”

Special Session agenda items will include:

  • BAIL REFORM: Legislation which Abbott claims will reform the bail system in Texas “to protect the public from accused criminals who may be released on bail.”
  • ELECTION REGULATION: Legislation modifying election laws in Texas.
  • BORDER SECURITY: Legislation providing funding to support law-enforcement agencies, counties, and other strategies as part of Abbot’s border security plan.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP: Legislation which Abbott claims will safeguard “the freedom of speech by protecting social-media users from being censored by social-media companies based on the user’s expressed viewpoints, including by providing a legal remedy for those wrongfully excluded from a platform.”
  • ARTICLE X FUNDING: Legislation providing appropriations to the Legislature and legislative agencies in Article X of the General Appropriations Act.
  • FAMILY VIOLENCE PREVENTION: Legislation similar to Senate Bill 1109 from the 87th Legislature, Regular Session, requiring schools to provide what Abbott calls “appropriate education to middle- and high-school students about dating violence, domestic violence, and child abuse, but that recognizes the right of parents to opt their children out of the instruction.”
  • YOUTH SPORTS: Legislation identical to Senate Bill 29 as passed by the Texas Senate in the 87th Legislature, Regular Session, disallowing a student from competing in University Interscholastic League athletic competitions designated for the sex opposite to the student’s sex at birth.
  • ABORTION-INDUCING DRUGS: Legislation similar to Senate Bill 394 from the 87th Legislature, Regular Session, which prohibits people from providing what Abbott describes as “abortion-inducing drugs by mail or delivery service, strengthens the laws applicable to the reporting of abortions and abortion complications,” and ensures that no so-called “abortion-inducing drugs” are provided unless there is voluntary and informed consent.
  • THIRTEENTH CHECK: Legislation similar to House Bill 3507 from the 87th Legislature, Regular Session, relating to a “thirteenth check” or one-time supplemental payment of benefits under the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
  • CRITICAL RACE THEORY: Legislation similar to House Bill 3979 concerning critical race theory as originally passed by the Texas Senate in the 87th Legislature, Regular Session.
  • APPROPRIATIONS: Legislation providing appropriations from additional available general revenue for the following purposes: property-tax relief; enhanced protection for the safety of children in Texas’ foster-care system by attracting and retaining private providers for the system; and to better safeguard the state from potential cybersecurity threats.

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