Lawmakers back to work in Austin for Special Session

After failing to check all of the boxes during the regular session of the Texas Legislature, lawmakers will be back at work later this morning for a special session called for by Governor Greg Abbott.

The item that will surely get the most headlines is the bathroom bill. The Senate passed their version of the bill, but instead of rubber stamping it, the House, led by Speaker Joe Straus passed a different proposal. Now, the battle between the two chambers is set to begin again.

The Senate bill has been re-named the Privacy bill. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick told our TV partner Channel 2 opponents of the bill who think it will cost the Texas economy millions and think it is discriminatory just don't get it.

“This is not discriminatory against transgender adults or children. It’s just common sense,” Patrick said.

Jared Woodfill with the Conservative Republicans of Texas supports the Senate version of the bill and told KTRH that’s the version his group, and many of you, want to see.

“That’s the one that overwhelmingly passed the Senate,” Woodfill stated.

A poll by Texans for Patrick shows 72% of GOP voters support the bill. But Speaker Joe Straus blocked it during the regular session and has not shown any signs of supporting it now. Woodfill says if that happens again, Straus will face the music in next year’s primary.

“We are definitely going to have an opponent for Straus in the primary,” Woodfill explained. “We also want to know where some of these other folks who claim to be conservative Republicans stand on this issue.”

Other issues on the agenda

Though the ‘Privacy Bill’ will get the majority of the media’s attention, there are other issues facing lawmakers. One of those issues, according to State Senator Paul Bettencourt, is property taxes. He tells KTRH those taxes are simply out of control.

“Folks are being taxed out of their home and business. Some of these taxes go from 20% all the way to 36%,” Bettencourt said.

State Representative Dwayne Bohac agrees that property taxes are too high. He also is looking at some education issues that he wants to see get taken care of, like raises for our teachers.

“That’s really important to me as well. Our teachers are underpaid for the job we ask them to do. A thousand dollars at least is a step in the right direction,” Bohac said. 

Late last week Lt. Governor Dan Patrick outlined his plan that would give teachers bonuses and increase their retirement benefits, with plans to pay for both long-term using money from the Texas lottery.

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