Speaking to a crowd of supporters at the Texas Public Policy Foundation the day before the special session begins, Gov. Greg Abbott was direct and forceful about the agenda he’s asked lawmakers to address over the next 30 days.
Shortly after the conclusion of the regular session, Abbott announced he would be calling legislators back to Austin for a special session, first to pass a sunset bill extending the life of the Texas Medical Board and then 19 other conservative reforms such as property tax reform, ending the automatic collection of labor union dues, and state and local spending caps.
Though Abbott was criticized during the regular session for appearing to be absent from the legislative process, he has been outspoken and increasingly active in the lead-up to the special session. Today, Abbott doubled down by calling on citizens to help him shine a spotlight on the legislators who support his agenda – and those who don’t.
“I didn’t just call a special session and leave it at that. My staff and I have been engaging directly with members of the Texas Legislature to get ready,” said Abbott, who has identified members of both chambers to carry his legislation during the special session.
“I’m going to be establishing a list,” he continued. “We all need to establish lists that we publish on a daily basis to call people out – who is for this, who is against this, who has not taken a position yet. No one gets to hide.”
Asked to address the plan of simply passing the sunset bill and adjourning, a proposal floated by House Democrats and liberal reporters close to House Speaker Joe Straus, Abbott said flatly that #SunsetAndSineDie won’t happen on his watch.
Conservatives should be encouraged that Abbott appears to be serious about passing the pro-taxpayer agenda he’s given lawmakers and is working to ensure his efforts bear fruit. While each of the bills are expected to move quickly through the Texas Senate, they must overcome obstruction in the Texas House.