Gov. Abbott releases special agenda: Democrats not satisfied

By Sahar Chmais

One day prior to a special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott, the governor’s office released the agenda items. Democrats are not satisfied with the direction of the agenda.

“Instead of real issues that impact the lives of everyday Texans, Governor Abbott is once again prioritizing divisive culture wars,” said State Representative Erin Zwiener. “I want to spend the next 30 days expanding healthcare coverage, updating our state’s aging infrastructure — including the grid, and jumpstarting our economy in the wake of COVID. Instead I will be fighting attacks on the freedom to vote, transgender children, educator’s freedom to teach, and reproductive health care.”

The special agenda is set to include:

  • -Bail Reform
  • -Election Integrity
  • -Border Security
  • -Social Media Censorship
  • -Article 10 Funding
  • -Family Violence Prevention
  • -Youth Sports
  • -Abortion-inducing drugs
  • -Thirteenth Check
  • -Critical Race Theory
  • -Appropriation

Zwiener said the decision to ban teaching critical race theory in classrooms, continuing to tighten regulations around reproductive rights and state-sanctioned limitations on transgender kids are widely unpopular among residents. These items would have a devastating effect for voters of color, disabled voters, women and trans youth, she said. Banning critical race theory silences teachers on current events and history of racism, which could hurt teachers, students and the future of Texas, Zwiener added.

Prior to the release of the agenda, Abbott stated the special session will include the election integrity legislation, which Democrats walked out on in May. Zwiener said that the democrats will stand united with their determination to kill bills that make it more difficult for Texans to vote.

“We will put protecting the freedom to vote above anything else,” Zwiener told the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch, after the special session was announced.

Abbott also vetoed Article 10, which funds the legislative branch. The veto has held the salaries of the legislative branch, which endangers the wages of 2,100 state workers.

“With eleven items on the agenda, this will no doubt be a chaotic session,” said Zwiener’s chief of staff, Victoria Godinez. “Our office is just one of many working around the clock to strategize and find ways to ensure that this special session doesn’t erode the rights and freedoms of Texans. Even with our salaries on the chopping block, we are here solely to serve our community and the people of Texas.”

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Sahar Chmais holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been covering cities in Hays County for one year, touching on residents' struggles and successes, city issues, COVID-19 and more. Prior to reporting on the local spectrum, Sahar reported for a national news organization, covering gun violence. Sahar enjoys working as a local reporter because she gets to work with real people and their stories.

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