AUSTIN, Texas -- Day one of Texas’ Special Legislative Session has begun and key fights over rules and quorum breaks are already in the works for what’s expected to be a contentious 30 days.
First and foremost, lawmakers need to pass a so-called sunset bill. That’s the main reason they’re back. The legislation is needed to keep some critical state agencies open, like the Texas Medical Board.
The Senate is already getting to work on the measure. But the upper chamber’s quick move to take up the bill got pushback from Senate Democrats because Republicans suspended rules to hear it on day one. Democrats said it gives the public virtually no notice.
“I have been in the Senate 30 years. I do not recall the tag rule ever being suspended,” said Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo.
Over on the House side, a Republican called attention to a measure he wants passed to provide penalties if members break quorum. There have been rumors that Democrats might not show up. Gov. Greg Abbott has put 20 items on the special session agenda he wants lawmakers to tackle.
Those include a private school voucher proposal for special needs students, a so-called bathroom bill and property tax reform. Abbott sets the agenda in the special session. But that didn’t stop Democrats from holding a press conference after the House adjourned for the day to discuss repealing a bill passed during the regular season.
Democrats want the anti-sanctuary bill, SB 4, to go away. It requires local law enforcement officials to honor federal immigration detainer requests and gives officers expanded power to inquire about immigration status
“We know law enforcement has said it’s going to make our communities less safe,” Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, said. “We know that there are going to be negative impacts in terms of creating fear in immigrant communities. We know that there is already fear in many of the communities that we represent.”
Join us at 7 p.m. for a full recap of day one of the special session, including a panel discussion with Reps. Jason Villalba, Matt Schaefer and Chris Turner.
Watch our Capital Tonight show on channels 1, 8 and 200 (14, 200 for San Antonio) for daily coverage of the state's special session.
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