NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM ) – Governor Greg Abbott blasted the Texas House for not reaching an agreement with the Senate on how to lessen the burden of rising property taxes.
The Governor called it his top priority during the special legislative session.
“I worked to reduce property taxes in Texas and yet the House failed to match the Senate plan, which was the plan I offered for the special session call,” he said.
When asked if that issue is important enough to call lawmakers back for a second legislative session, the Governor would only say everything is on the table. “This is an important issue, the reason to call lawmakers back is if we see movement that they are wiling to step up and willing to finally vote on a package.”
The Governor also criticized the House for not giving nine of his items a hearing, including bathroom privacy legislation. That issue generated national headlines, and ultimately failed after a strong campaign by Texas businesses and other groups who called the measure discriminatory against transgender Texans.
Legislation would have regulated bathroom use in local government buildings and public schools. Governor Abbott says the bill would have provided schools and parents guidance. “As schools are beginning to open, schools, superintendents, principals, and parents are living with this uncertainty about what the policies are.”
He had a message for Texas school districts when they consider policies on bathroom usage. “I would urge superintendents and principals to seek advice from the Texas Attorney General’s office.”
But Governor Abbott described the end of the special session as a “glass half full.”
Ten of his 20 items passed, and he praised them, including those that give retired teachers more money for their healthcare, increasing penalties against mail-in ballot fraud, and setting up a commission for reforming how to pay for public schools.
After the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Governor Abbott says he was glad to see Texas A&M University cancel a planned rally there.
“I talked to the chancellor of Texas A&M University to make sure that we were going to provide a safe and secure environment so that we would have no deaths and no injury in Texas and he made the call I agree with to cancel the event.”
He also rejected a federal court ruling that the state legislature intentionally discriminated against minorities when drawing two Congressional districts in 2011. The judges ordered the state to decide within three business days whether the legislature will re-draw those two Congressional district maps or have both sides go back to court to do so.
“What makes sense is to appeal immediately to the U.S. Supreme Court and get a ruling from that court,” said Abbott. t
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