Abbott calls for special session

To begin July 18, with a laundry list of wingnut wet dreams.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday called a special session of the Texas Legislature starting July 18 and promised to make it a sweeping one if lawmakers cooperate.

Abbott gave legislators an ambitious 19-item agenda to work on — including a “bathroom bill” — but only after they approve must-pass legislation that they failed to advance during the regular session. An overtime round, Abbott said, was “entirely avoidable.”

“Because of their inability or refusal to pass a simple law that would prevent the medical profession from shutting down, I’m announcing a special session to complete that unfinished business,” Abbott told reporters. “But if I’m going to ask taxpayers to foot the bill for a special session, I intend to make it count.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had been pushing Abbott to call a special session on the bathroom issue, as well as property taxes. Abbott also added the latter item to the call, reiterating his support for legislation that would create automatic rollback elections when a city or county wants to raise property taxes above a certain amount.

In an effort to force the special session, Patrick had held hostage legislation, known as a “sunset bill,” that would keep some state agencies from closing. That “will be the only legislation on the special session [agenda] until they pass out of the Senate in full,” Abbott said.

In a statement, Patrick congratulated Abbott on his “big and bold special session agenda which solidly reflects the priorities of the people of Texas.” Patrick noted that “almost every issue” Abbott mentioned Tuesday has already passed out of the Senate.

Democrats unfurled statements condemning Abbott for proposing an agenda that largely appeals to Republican primary voters.

“Governor Abbott’s announcement today simply shows what an ineffective governor and leader he has been,” said state Rep. Chris Turner of Arlington, who chairs the House Democratic Caucus. “After providing zero leadership and interest during the regular session, the governor is clearly panicking and trying to shovel as much red meat as he can to his right-wing Tea Party base.”

You can see the agenda list at the bottom of the story. Given the usually very short agendas for special sessions, some folks are speculating that the long list of items was intended as a gesture more than an actual to-do list, as the likelihood of everything or even most things passing is pretty slim. It’s typical Abbott weak leadership – he has no compass or instincts beyond “base good, libruls bad”, so he threw in everything he could think of because why not? You know the drill here – the name of the game is throwing sand in the works, and ginning up evidence for the litigation that will follow for the things that are on the list after the handful of necessary items get done. It’s going to be another nasty summer. RG Ratcliffe, the Observer, and BOR have more.

(By the way, just so we’re all clear, the reason why the must-pass sunset legislation didn’t pass is because Dan Patrick engineered it that way, precisely to force this outcome. Patrick doesn’t need to primary Abbott, he already runs the state.)

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