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Gov. Abbott recaps 88th Texas legislative session during fireside chat

The governor discussed the session at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott participated in a fireside chat to recap the 88th legislative session starting at noon on Friday.

The event was held at the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) and was moderated by TPPF CEO Greg Sindelar. 

During the fireside chat the governor brought up that he would be calling multiple special sessions. But he did discuss what the session was able to accomplish before it ended. 

Abbott discussed fentanyl and how it has become a problem due to the southern borders. He stated that state law enforcement has taken enough fentanyl "to kill every man, woman and child in the United States of America." 

He went on to talk about how fentanyl has been laced with other medication. 

"Fentanyl is the leading cause of death in America for people between 18 and 45," said Abbot. "We have now made it a poisoning to laced fentanyl onto these other drugs and in Texas, we will now be prosecuting it as murder." 

He also praised legislature for what he considers big wins this session that would keep universities "more in line with the ideology of the state of Texas."

Those include one bill to ban transgender women from playing women's collegiate sports and another that bans Diversity-Equity and Inclusion programs at Texas public universities.  

Abbott then moved to discuss one of his largest priorities for the special sessions: bringing property tax relief to Texans. He made it clear that he wants to get to a point where Texas homeowners are not paying school property taxes at all. 

"First thing we do is to return your taxes to you by driving down your property tax rate until it gets to zero, so you no longer have to pay property taxes and you get to own your own property in the state," Abbott said. 

The Texas House and Senate have not been able to agree on how to cut property taxes, but the chambers did set aside nearly $17 million in the state budget during the regular session to drive down property taxes. 

With a $33 billion budget surplus, Abbott says cutting property taxes is the best way to give taxpayers' money back to them. 

"I think one of the best ways we can give it back to you is by cutting your property taxes with the largest property tax cut in the history of the state of Texas," Abbott said. 

Abbott said his second priority after passing "the largest property tax cut in the history of the state of Texas" is to pass a bill for school vouchers, which he calls school choice. That bill passed in the Senate, but died in the House. 

"We, as a state have an obligation to ensure that we empower every parent in the state to choose the education pathway that is best for their child, knowing that that will lead to the best education results," Abbott said. 

The governor made it clear that he would keep calling lawmakers back to the Capitol until they pass the legislation he wants, so we could be in for a long road of special sessions. 

The conversation comes after lawmakers had quite a busy regular session, including the House voting to impeach Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the passage of several controversial bills and, ultimately, Abbott calling a special session for lawmakers to address property tax relief and border security. That special session is still underway as of Friday morning.

Watch Abbott and Sindelar's conversation in full below:

Earlier this week, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick held his own post-session presentation and press conference at the TPPF. During that event, Patrick laid out how many bills passed from the Senate and the House and also discussed why certain bills didn't pass. You can view Patrick's full press conference below: 

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