AUSTIN, Texas — Friday marks the halfway point of the Texas Legislative special session and the House Democrats who are still in Washington, D.C., promise to stay there unless Gov. Greg Abbott changes course.
The Democrats fled to Washington, D.C., on June 12 in an attempt to halt GOP-backed election reform legislation, House Bill 3. While in D.C, the lawmakers are doing dozens of interviews every day, social media Q&As and anything to get the word out about why they fled to Washington to halt progress on what they call a "voter suppression" bill. They are also urging the U.S. Congress to pass federal voting protection bills.
In Texas, Republicans are still moving along with plans to push more legislation through the special session.
These are the bills they have passed in the Senate so far:
- Senate Bill 1 amends the state's election code to clamp down voting-by-mail rules and limit initiatives Harris County took in 2020 to widen access to voting. Passed by 18-4 vote.
- Senate Bill 3 bans critical race theory in Texas schools. Passed by an 18-4 vote.
- Senate Bill 4 is an abortion-related bill focused on “the regulation of drug-induced abortion procedures.” Passed on a 19-3 vote.
- Senate Bill 6, would keep more people who have been accused but not convicted of violent or sexual crimes in jail unless they had enough cash. It would also restrict charitable bail groups’ ability to pay to get people out of jail.
- Senate Bill 7, or the "13th Check," gives retired teachers, counselors and school staff in the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRST) who retired on or before Dec. 31, 2020, an additional, one-time retirement check. Passed unanimously.
- Senate Bill 8 and Senate Bill 12, both related to property tax.
No further action can be taken on any of these bills passed by the Texas Senate until a quorum is restored in the House. This special session could end in a stalemate, but Gov. Greg Abbott has said he'll keep calling sessions as necessary.
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