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Texas lawmakers return to Austin for special session

Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 6:02 PM CDT
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AUSTIN, Texas (KWTX) - Texas lawmakers are back in Austin to deal with legislation left hanging at the end of the regular legislative session.

Wednesday morning, just more than 24 hours before the session started,, Gov. Greg Abbott announced the 11-item agenda, which includes election integrity and border security.

On Thursday, lawmakers met in the chambers briefly.

Bills were introduced and assigned to committees for further discussion.

The Senate adjourned for the day after about an hour; the House met for even less time.

State Rep. Hugh Shine, R-Temple, said the election reform bill is a priority for him, along with making sure legislators and their staff get paid and bail reform.

“Those were very important bills they were all the emergency items by the governor,” Shine said, speaking about the election integrity and bail reform bills.

“And we didn’t get to address them. So they didn’t get done. And so we’re going to take care of that business.”

Thursday afternoon, Abbott spoke with the Rick Roberts show on WBAP.

He said he was pleased the session was starting, and that both the senate and the house came to work.

“The most important thing about it is making sure we have members of the house and senate, working together to get across the finish line, things that are so incredibly important,” Abbott said.

Jon Taylor, a professor of political science at University of Texas at San Antonio, said it is unclear if lawmakers will get to everything.

“I’ll be surprised if they get to all eleven items on the list,” Taylor said.

Taylor said the agenda is an ambitious list, and some topics, like elections security, could take a while.

“That’s going to be spread out as we go through the session,” Taylor said.

“You’re probably going to get bogged down in the election discussion.”

Taylor said it’s possible there could be another special session, depending on what’s accomplished during this one.

“It depends on what the governor gets, if it gets his way in most of these items, which were his emergency items his pet projects, he probably won’t call another special session,” Taylor said.

On Friday, the House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on House Bill 1, which would override the governor’s veto of pay for lawmakers and their staffs.

The veto was prompted by the Democratic walkout that derailed the election legislation in the last hours of the regular session.

On Saturday morning, the Senate State Committee will hold a public hearing on the Senate version of the bill.

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