Special Session Comes to an End
Governor Greg Abbott on June 6 called the Texas Legislature back for a Special Session for 30 days staring on July 18. The Governor has twenty items on his agenda. During the twenty nine days that the House of Representatives was in session ten of the twenty items passed.
The key agenda item that caused the Governor to summon back the legislature was the "Sunset" legislation, which would keep several crucial state agencies alive such as the Texas Medical Board. Senate Bill 20 and 60 were passed by the House and signed by the Governor on August 11.
School finance reform has been a heavily debated topic by the state legislature and courts for years now. House Bill 21 and 30 were passed on August 15 and then signed by the Governor on August 16. It included a grant program for autism programs in schools, programs for dyslexic students, a group to look in to school finance reform, and money to retired teachers through TRS Care.
Municipalities were also affected in the session with House Bill 7 that would prevent cities from regulating what property owners do with trees on private land. There was also municipal annexation reform in Senate Bill 6 that would restrict forced annexation and protect the rights of residents and landowners.
Both of these will be in effect on December 1, 2017.
Representative Shine co-authored four pro-life bills that were on the governor's call, they were passed and then signed by the governor. These bills would prohibit the use of taxpayer funding to subsidize health providers that also perform abortions, requiring woman to get separate insurance policies to cover non-emergency abortions, increasing existing reporting requirements when complications arise during abortions, and strengthening patient protections relating to do-not-resuscitate orders. The legislature also passed Senate Bill 17 that would extend the state's maternal mortality task force.
Finally, the legislature passed Senate Bill 5 that would crack down on mail-in ballot fraud which is a current problem the state of Texas is facing.
It was a busy twenty nine days but the legislature made Texas better than when it began the special session!