The Texas State Legislature returns to business during the third week of July. State Representative Celia Israel is afraid that the lawmakers, instead of tackling real problems and finding out cogent solutions, would soon bog down to its usual mess of embarrassing and divisive politics.
Representative Israel said that the Constitution of Texas provides the Governor the requisite power to ask the Legislature's special sessions if 'extraordinary occasions' arise. The colloquially termed 'safety net bill' was killed during a regular legislative session. The bill extends the existence of a few vital state agencies. The bill died as a result of an end-of-session occurrence between the Senate and the House. The absence of any legislation boards which oversee family therapists, doctors, marriage therapists, and psychologists would become extinct on September 1, post a one-year long wind-down time period. If a special session is asked to push the continuation of the necessary agencies, then there would be a bipartisan support to swiftly pass such a legislation. Lawmakers could then quickly return to their respective communities.
The problem is that Governor Abbott had indicated that lawmakers must tackle an extra 19 items after the state Senate had done the needed legislation which will extend the agencies. Included among 19 items are bathroom usage regulation and a few that effectively stymies cities' powers to do any kind of activity. These range from tree trimming to regulating hands-free devices. All of these meetings come at a great cost to the taxpayer. As per a number of studies, each meeting costs the taxpayer about one million US dollars. Even after getting sponsored by taxpayers, the priority list of the Government fails to account for Pflugerville.
During the 2016 summer, the Texas Supreme Court deemed the finance systems of government schools unconstitutional. The court called it 'byzantine' in its complexity. Representative Israel requested a special session to discuss the Texas public schools funding. Governor Abbott never did a special session on the school finance reform. There were cries of change from lawmakers and advocates who wanted to reform the school finances. They also wanted to offer some relief to the school districts via the House Bill 21. Instead of moving towards a cogent solution, the Texas Senate transformed the legislation into a private school vouchers vehicle.