AUSTIN, Texas — After two pieces of Republican priority legislation failed to make it to his desk, Gov. Greg Abbott announced both will be discussed in a special session sometime this year.
Both Senate Bill 7 and House Bill 20 appeared dead late Sunday night when House Democrats walked out of the chamber to block the passage of SB 7.
Senate Bill 7 would alter nearly the entire voting process. It would create new limitations for early voting hours, increase voting-by-mail restrictions and curb local voting options like drive-thru voting. House Bill 20 would make it harder for people arrested to bond out of jail without cash.
Both "election integrity" and fixing the "flawed bail system" were two of the governor's emergency items for this legislative session. Sunday night, he stated both will still be addressed this year.
"I declared Election Integrity and Bail Reform to be must-pass emergency items for this legislative session. It is deeply disappointing and concerning for Texans that neither will reach my desk. Ensuring the integrity of our elections and reforming a broken bail system remain emergencies in Texas," Abbott said in a statement. "They will be added to the special session agenda. Legislators will be expected to have the details when they arrive at the Capitol for the special session."
Abbott also said Monday afternoon that he plans to veto Article 10 of the budget passed by the Legislature, which he says funds the legislative branch. "No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities," the governor said in a tweet.
Texas lawmakers are required to hold a special session sometime this fall to discuss redistricting in response to the 2020 census, though no date has been set for that session.
It's unclear at this time if the governor intends to add the issues of election integrity and bail reform to the agenda of that special session or call a separate one to focus on those issues. There is no limit to the number of special sessions the governor can call in a given year.
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