Abbott calls second special session with broader education agenda
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Date Posted: 8/05/2021 | Author: Jennifer Mitchell
With the first special session ending Friday and many Democratic House members still hunkered down in Washington, D.C., Texas Governor Greg Abbott is following through on his promise to convene another special session. Abbott announced Thursday that the second session will begin Saturday, August 7, 2021 at noon.
Abbott's first called session included four education-related agenda items, mostly revisiting legislation from the regular session: restoring the Senate's preferred version of a controversial civics education bill, considering legislation on violence prevention instruction similar to a bill Abbott veted before, reviving a failed bill restricting transgender student participation in UIL athletics, and exploring options to provide a one-time 13th check for retired educators. Those four topics remain on the agenda for the second special session. Bail reform, elections, and funding for the legislative branch of state government that is set to run out in less than a month also figure prominently in the agenda for the second special session, along with a handful of other repeat topics.
New to the Governor's call this time is a request for "legislation providing strategies for public-school education in prekindergarten through twelfth grade during the COVID-19 pandemic." More specifically, Gov. Abbott wants education bills that will meet four objectives he outlined in the call as follows:
- "students receive a high-quality education and progress in their learning;"
- "in-person learning is available for any student whose parent wants it;"
- "the wearing of face coverings is not mandatory; and"
- "COVID-19 vaccinations are always voluntary."
For the second special session, Gov. Abbott is allowing bills that could change the Legislature's current quorum requirements, potentially making it easier to pass controversial measures or deal with walkouts similar to those executed by Democratic lawmakers in both the regular session and first special session to prevent an election-related bill from passing. Also on the agenda now is "legislation modifying the filing periods and related election dates, including any runoffs, for primary elections held in Texas in 2022." Such measures might delay the primary elections next spring to allow more time for redistricting.
View the Governor's full proclamation ordering the second special session here.
Meanwhile, members of the House Democratic caucus have not yet announced their plans with respect to commencement of another special session. ATPE's lobbyists will continue to provide updates here on Teach the Vote.
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