Sachse Bond Leaderboard

Governor demands action, calls lawmakers back to Austin

by | Jun 14, 2017 | Opinion

By Ed Sterling

Director of Member Services for the Texas Press Association


AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on June 6 announced a special session of the Texas Legislature to begin on July 18 to address issues that went unresolved during the contentious 140-day regular session that ended May 29.

Abbott explained why he thinks it necessary to order lawmakers back to Austin. “Considering all the successes of the 85th legislative session, we should not be where we are today,” he said. “A special session was entirely avoidable and there was plenty of time for the legislature to forge compromises to avoid the time and taxpayer expense of a special session. As governor, if I am going to call a special session, I intend to make it count,” he added.

Special session agenda items Abbott named for lawmakers to address will begin with sunset legislation — bills on the continuation or abolishment of certain state agencies, including the Texas Medical Board.

Once the sunset legislation meets the governor’s expectations, he said, the rest of the items on lawmakers’ to-do list would be as follows:

– Teacher pay increase of $1,000;

– Administrative flexibility in teacher hiring and retention practices;

– School finance reform commission;

– School choice for special needs students;

– Property tax reform;

– Caps on state and local spending;

– Preventing cities from regulating what property owners do with trees on private land;

– Preventing local governments from changing rules midway through construction projects;

– Speeding up local government permitting process; and

– Municipal annexation reform.


– Texting while driving preemption;

– Privacy;

– Prohibition of taxpayer dollars to collect union dues;

– Prohibition of taxpayer funding for abortion providers;

– Pro-life insurance reform;

– Strengthening abortion-reporting requirements when health complications arise;

– Strengthening patient protections relating to do-not-resuscitate orders;

– Cracking down on mail-in ballot fraud; and

– Extending maternal mortality task force.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, reacted to the governor’s announcement with a Twitter social media posting: “The people of Texas have a right to expect that we will finish the job on these critical issues.”

House Speaker Joe Straus did not react, but during the regular session he and Patrick disagreed over the so-called “bathroom bill” addressing the treatment of transgender students and property tax reform. Both items are on the special session call, with the bathroom bill referred to as “privacy.”

Paxton applauds decision 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on June 6 announced his support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to give states more time to comply with the National Ambient Air Quality Standard, an ozone regulation issued in 2015. Texas has a pending lawsuit contesting the rule.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sent a letter to governors informing them that the Clean Air Act enforcing federal agency is extending the deadline for promulgating initial area designations for the standards by one year.

Since 1980, wrote Pruitt, total emissions of the six principal air pollutants have dropped by 63 percent and ozone levels have declined by 33 percent. Despite the continued improvement of air quality, costs associated with compliance of the ozone NAAQS have significantly increased.

“Texas has continually reduced ambient ozone concentrations in the state without stifling the growth of Texas’s industry or population, and looks forward to continuing efforts to improve air quality while bolstering the Texas economy,” Paxton said.

Hegar distributes revenue

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar on June 7 announced his office would send cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts $640 million in local sales tax allocations for June, an amount 3.6 percent more than in June 2016.

Allocations are based on sales made in April by businesses that report tax monthly.

The cities of Round Rock, Frisco, San Antonio, Midland and Odessa saw noticeable increases in sales tax allocations, Hegar said. The cities of Houston and Austin saw small decreases, he added.

Hurricane readiness begins

Hurricane season began June 1 and continues through Nov. 30.

The Texas Division of Emergency Management on June 5 brought together personnel from more than two dozen state and federal agencies at the Texas State Operations Center in Austin for a weeklong hurricane exercise.

Dubbed Hurricane Charlie, the exercise was conducted “to bolster our preparedness efforts for this year’s hurricane season,” said Nim Kidd, chief of the division. “Early preparation is critical to saving lives when a hurricane or severe weather occurs, so we are asking the public to do just that — get ready now.”

For more information, visit

For more stories like this subscribe to our print or e-edition.


Related News

What grandmothers do

What grandmothers do

My grandmother made the best oatmeal. It was so good, it even tasted good cold. She made it each morning for my grandfather who always left some for any of his grandchildren who wanted it. I always did. There were no microwaves, so oatmeal was made on the stove. And...

read more
Mow Mow Mow

Mow Mow Mow

By John Moore When I was a kid, I was the designated (fill in the blank). If the TV antenna needed turning to pick up Star Trek or Dragnet, I was the designated antenna turner. If the channel needed changing, I was the designated remote control. When the ubiquitous...

read more
Choose to be loved

Choose to be loved

A verse that has been on my mind lately is John 3:16. If you’re familiar with the bible at all, you probably know this verse… For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have...

read more
Ravages of drought not far from Texans’ minds

Ravages of drought not far from Texans’ minds

The trials of drought weave throughout the story of Texas in tales of devastation that had lasting effects on the families, businesses, and communities that survived them. These withering dry times prompted Texans to make big changes to shore up their water...

read more
Finding hope in heartache

Finding hope in heartache

I recently received a call no one ever wants to receive. My sister had been horrifically murdered at her home in South Carolina. I was stunned as I tried to process a statement that didn’t make sense to me. The next step of calling other family members to inform them...

read more
We’re global now

We’re global now

No matter how hard we try, we real­ly can’t avoid one another. We live in a world where what takes place some­where else on the globe has a very good chance of affecting us, along with many others. The pandemic, of course, is a useful – if sobering – ex­ample. A virus...

read more
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

The latest report on child maltreatment fatali­ties and near fatalities, compiled by the Texas Depart­ment of Family and Protective Services, indicates 251 children in Texas died in fiscal year 2020 due to abuse and neglect. That figure includes 28 children who died...

read more