AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – With the Texas House on hold because it lacks a quorum, Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday he’s already got his sights set on the next special session of the Legislature. “Whenever the current special session ends, I will immediately call another special session.”
The current special session, which began July 8, is set to end Aug. 7.
When asked if that means the next special session will begin Aug. 8, the governor said, “Yes, immediately. There will be no daylight whatsoever.”
On Monday, 51 House Democrats flew on charter planes to Washington, D.C., to deny Republicans the required quorum and fight back against what they describe as voter suppression bills.
Abbott said he has not personally reached out to Democrats who left the Texas Capitol. “I will talk to them as soon as they return to the job they are being paid by taxpayers to do. When they return to the Capitol, I’ll talk to them all the time to make sure we get this legislation as well as other very important pieces of legislation passed.”
Those issues he said include property tax reduction and bail reform.
The governor said since Democrats blocked bail reform from passing in the regular session, there have been five people killed by dangerous criminals who were released on bail. “There’s blood on the hands of the Democrats for failing to step-up and help pass bail reform in Texas.”
When asked about his statement, the governor said, “It’s a true statement. It’s very dangerous and where there have been very dangerous communities because of bail reform challenges, we expect the Democrats to be here and pass bail reform.”
CBS 11 News emailed the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses for a response to the governor’s comments but did not hear back.
Abbott denied Democrats’ accusations the House and Senate election integrity bills will deprive anyone from voting and said, instead, they will expand access. “Republicans are providing more hours to vote. Republicans are making it easier to vote than has ever been in the state of Texas.”
He said he opposes 24-hour voting which Democrats want to continue after Harris County implemented it last year.
The governor said the U.S. Constitution empowers state legislatures, not counties with the authority to establish elections. “Harris County has zero legal authority whatsoever to write the laws of voting. Harris County needs to follow the same rules and standards that the state sets for every county.”
Abbott also rejected Democrats’ call to establish online voter registration, even as more than 30 states already have it. “It could actually promote voter fraud. It could promote crime by encouraging people to register to vote who are not eligible to vote.”
The governor said he supports Speaker Dade Phelan’s demand that House Democrats return their daily $221 stipend. “I think they don’t deserve a penny of taxpayer money for not doing their job.”
Full Interview With Gov. Abbott