By Joe Reavis
The 85th session of the Texas Legislature came to an end Memorial Day amid speculation that Gov. Greg Abbott would call a Special Session this summer to address several pieces of legislation that several top state officials deemed priorities this year.
Legislators convened the biennial session in January and met for 149 days, during which more than 6,600 bills were filed. Less than a quarter of that number were expected to become laws after they were approved and sent to the governor for his signature.
Abbott has already signed SB 4 that bans “sanctuary” cities and allows law enforcement officers to ask about the immigration status of people they lawfully detain. Officials, such as sheriffs and police chiefs, who don’t cooperate with federal authorities by honoring requests to hold noncitizen inmates who are subject to deportation can face misdemeanor charges, and possibly jail time.
The bill, which goes into effect Sept. 1, was signed by the governor on May 7.
The most contentious issue of the 85th legislative term, blocking transgender people from using publicly owned restrooms that match their gender identity, failed to garner approval when the Texas House refused to hear it and may be included in a Special Session, if called by the governor.
For more on this story see the June 7 issue or our e-edition.