Governor Greg Abbott would not rule out calling a second special legislative session this summer after the House of Representatives has refused to vote on many of the 20 items Abbott wanted lawmakers to consider.
When asked whether the governor thought the House should work harder, Abbott told WFAA: “If not they sure are showing signs they want to spend a whole lot of the time in Austin, Texas over the remaining part of this year. They need to pick up the pace if they want to get out of town and get back to their families.”
Abbott was pressed on whether that meant he would call a second special session: “Listen, everything is on the table. I fully expect the House and Senate to work aggressively together for the remainder of this week and next week to make sure we get this items passed,” said Abbott in an interview with WFAA-TV’s Inside Texas Politics this morning.
The special session, which ends Wednesday, was essentially required to renew the Texas Medical Board. But Abbott added 20 additional issues to the call including the bathroom bill and property tax reform, among other things.
The Senate sped through the agenda passing most everything the governor requested. The House has not.
Abbott was asked whether he faults House members or Speaker Straus for not voting on his wish list.
“I don’t know what the reason is behind it. Here’s what we can all understand. If the House moved at the same pace as the Senate we would either have more bills on my desk right now or we would have an affirmative sign from the House they simply don’t have the votes to pass legislation,” said the governor. “The least taxpayers deserve is to have a vote on these issues.”
With three days left in the session, lawmakers in the House have shown little interest in passing the governor’s wish list.
How many of the governor’s bills must pass to satisfy him and avoid a second special session?
“There’s no threshold. I’m a 20 for 20 guy. I want to see all 20 items passed. I’m sticking to that goal to the very end. I’m working to that goal to the very end. We have an entire team plus myself working with legislators in the House and Senate every single day,” said Abbott.
Among the most controversial items is the so-called bathroom bill. Led by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the bill would require people to use the public restroom of the sex listed on their birth certificate. Some of the state’s largest corporations said it discriminates against transgender individuals.
That legislation died during the regular session.
If it fails in the special session, Abbott was asked whether he would pursue the bathroom bill in the 2019 legislative session: “It’s way premature, I’m not going to be talking about any of these items like they’re not going to pass because again my focus is on getting them passed,” Abbott told WFAA. “I believe we still have time to get them passed and I’m not going to let go of any of these items yet.”
Watch the full interview below: