Governor Abbott Announces Special Legislative Session

UPDATE (6/6/17: 2:40 p.m.): Governor Greg Abbott has announced a special legislative session. The session will take place on July 18, 2017.  Read More Here

AUSTIN (CBS11) – Governor Greg Abbott has scheduled a news conference Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. amid talk of a possible special legislative session.

Last week he said he’d be making an announcement soon about whether he will call lawmakers back for a special session.

Some political analysts have said it’s almost certain he will.

Governor Abbott said last week his biggest disappointment was the fact that lawmakers didn’t pass a sunset bill, that would allow the Texas Medical Board and four other state agencies to continue operating past September.

The Governor hasn’t offered any clues whether he will have lawmakers consider legislation involving property tax reform and bathroom privacy.

Those comments came two days after he received a letter from 14 CEO’s of major companies, including Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon.

While they didn’t mention bathroom privacy legislation, the CEO’s did warn the Governor that any discriminatory legislation would hurt their ability to attract and retain top talent here.

The letter says, “As large employers in the state, we are gravely concerned that any such legislation would deeply tarnish Texas’ reputation as open and friendly to businesses and families. We strongly urge you and the Texas legislature not to further pursue legislation of this kind.”

In deciding about a special session, the Governor finds himself in the position of having to choose between businesses and moderate Republicans like Speaker Joe Straus, who opposes a special session and bathroom privacy legislation and social conservatives like Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who favor such a bill and a special session.

SMU political science professor Cal Jillson predicts the Governor will side with the Lt. Governor.

“The social conservatives are two-thirds of the Republican primary electorate. The old business community, country-club Republican party is only one-third, so he is drifting toward Patrick and the social conservatives – even though he knows historically, Republican Governors have stood with the business community, which is very much against the bathroom bill,” said Jillson.

Both Governor Abbott and Lt. Governor Patrick face reelection next year.

Speaker Straus, like all members of the Texas House, faces reelection next year.

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