Editorial

12 July 2021

Capitol Update: First Special Session of the 87th Legislature

As many of you know, Governor Abbott called upon legislators to return to Austin on July 8 to begin the first Special Session of the 87th Legislature. On Wednesday, July 7, the Governor announced the Special Session agenda. As expected, election integrity and bail reform were on top of that list, along with nine other items of interest.

Per the Texas Constitution, the Legislature may only consider topics designated in the proclamation called by the Governor. In addition, a Special Session can last for a maximum of 30 days, and there is no limit on the number of specials sessions that can be called. As of now, we know at least one more session will be held this fall to address redistricting.

With that, here’s an update from your State Capitol…

Capitol Update

In the proclamation issued by Governor Abbott, eleven items were announced as being on the agenda. The first two, election integrity and comprehensive bail reform, were also emergency items identified by the Governor in February during his State of the State address. The Legislature ultimately failed to pass these bills before the 140-day clock expired on the regular session. In response to some members of the House breaking quorum on the election integrity bill in May, the Governor vetoed Article X of the budget that funds the Texas Legislature and legislative agencies. As such, the Governor has added Article X funding to the call as well. The remaining items on the agenda include border security, social media censorship, family violence prevention, a thirteenth check for retired teachers, using additional appropriations for purposes of property-tax relief, and more.

Prior to the special session beginning, House Speaker Dade Phelan announced the creation of the House Select Committee on Constitutional Rights and Remedies to study many of the issues we will consider during the special session. I was honored that the Speaker tapped me to serve as Chairman of this newly created committee. This select committee is comprised of 15 members, and will work specifically on matters relating to the constitutional rights of Texans and the entities and activities responsible for the administration and protection of those rights.

While serving in this new role, I will continue to serve on  both the Appropriations and Transportation Committees. Importantly, all of my committees been tasked with measuring the impact of the current surge at the Texas border. I look forward to answering the Governor’s call and working with my colleagues to complete our legislative business.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will be posting regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and sharing information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.

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