All Eyes On Abbott

That sound you heard last week was establishment heads exploding in and around the Texas Capitol as Gov. Greg Abbott announced a robust reform agenda for legislators to tackle starting July 18. In calling the legislature back, Abbott is giving the obstructionist House leadership a “do-over” to pass popular reforms they have blocked for years.

But while the regular legislative session’s results – or lack thereof – are a referendum on legislators and their leadership, a called (or “special”) session is a reflection of a governor’s governing prowess.

Abbott set a high bar for himself, telling Texans the first called session of his first term as governor will be judged on his ability to get lawmakers to pass not one but more than a dozen significant policy reforms. Abbott’s agenda includes a litany of bills long-favored by the grassroots but opposed and obstructed by House Speaker Joe Straus and the establishment-wing of the House GOP caucus led by lackluster State Rep. Tan Parker of Flower Mound.

Abbott’s list includes property tax reform, limits on state and local government spending, prioritizing spending in the classroom, protecting women’s and children’s privacy, school choice for special needs kids, and much more. (The complete list can be found here. One item noticeably absent is the top platform plank of the Texas GOP: constitutional carry.)

It’s often been said that the failure to pass items placed on the agenda for a special session calls into question just how seriously legislators take their governor. But in this case, Abbott has wrapped himself in issues that resonate strongly with Texas’ taxpayers. He is inviting the legislature to do the work or thumb their nose at him… and the body politic legislators claim to represent.

Texans should stand alongside Abbott in petitioning legislators with a simple message: Pass Them All. Don’t get trapped into ranking the agenda items, or prioritizing them. Don’t be tempted by the cronies to bid against yourself and your fellow citizens. Tell the legislators that Abbott has given them 30 days to pass less than two dozen measures widely supported by Texans. Pass them all.

One can reasonably expect the Senate will get the job done quickly, as it did in the regular session. House members, on the other hand, should be nervous that the obstructionist Straus-Parker alliance will once again slow-walk conservative reforms to get as little done as possible. If House members continue to saddle themselves with Straus and Parker, they will continue to own the results… or lack thereof.

As citizens, we must not be held captive to low expectations or talked into accepting legislative table scraps. Pass them all. With loud voices all summer, we must demand legislators get to work on Abbott’s called agenda and Pass Them All.

Tell the Texas Legislature: #PassThemAll

Gov. Greg Abbott has called a special session of the Texas Legislature, providing each of you a second chance to pass conservative reforms that were killed in the House during the regular session.

"If I'm going to ask taxpayers to foot the bill for a special session, I intend to make it count," Abbott said as he laid out a robust, conservative agenda for the 30-day special session.

Abbott’s list of 20 issues is almost entirely comprised of major, conservative policy goals that taxpayers have been demanding for years. Issues such as property tax reform, strong state and local spending limits, and ending the government collection of labor union dues.

Each part of Abbott’s agenda would represent a major victory for citizens, and it’s time for both chambers of the Texas Legislature to stop rationing reforms, stand up for taxpayers, and answer his call.

My message is simple: #PassThemAll!

Help spread the word for lawmakers to PASS THEM ALL!


Let your friends know you are calling on legislators to #PassThemAll!

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael is president and CEO of Empower Texans. A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Sullivan is married with three children. He divides his time between the Metroplex, the rest of Texas, and Austin.

Read All Posts