AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a proclamation announcing a third special legislative session to begin at 10 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 20.
The agenda for the special session will focus on five items, including redistricting maps based on the 2020 Census for the Texas House of Representatives, the Texas Senate, the State Board of Education and the U.S. House of Representatives.
"The Texas Legislature now has the opportunity to redraw legislative and congressional districts in accordance with the new census numbers," Abbott said in a statement on Tuesday. "In addition to redistricting, there are still issues remaining that are critical to building a stronger and brighter future for all Texans."
On top of the fight to draw the new district maps across Texas, lawmakers will be tasked with allocating $16 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds.
The agenda includes these five items, as stated in a release from the governor’s office:
- Legislation relating to the apportionment of the State of Texas into districts used to elect members of the Texas House of Representatives, the Texas Senate, the State Board of Education, and the United States House of Representatives.
- Legislation providing appropriations from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), Pub. L. No. 117-2.
- Legislation identical to Senate Bill 29 as passed by the Texas Senate in the 87th Legislature, Regular Session, disallowing a student from competing in University Interscholastic League athletic competitions designated for the sex opposite to the student's sex at birth.
- Legislation regarding whether any state or local governmental entities in Texas can mandate that an individual receive a COVID-19 vaccine and, if so, what exemptions should apply to such mandate.
- Legislation similar to Senate Bill 474 as passed by the 87th Legislature, Regular Session, but that addresses the concerns expressed in the governor's veto statement.
The last item, SB 474, is the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act to expand animal cruelty laws that Abbott vetoed after the 87th Legislative Regular Session.
The bipartisan bill barred owners from leaving pets outside without proper water and shelter. It also prohibited the use of heavy chains to restrain dogs and mandated animal rescue groups scan pets for microchips. The bill would have given tax breaks to rescue organizations.
Abbott vetoed the bill, saying Texas statutes already protect dogs by outlawing “true animal cruelty.”
“Texas is no place for this kind of micro-managing and over-criminalization,” Abbott said about the bill.
The Texas Legislature wrapped up its second special session last week.
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