Skip to main content

The Brief: Prepare for a blockbuster special session

It is happening — a special legislative session, that is. Gov. Greg Abbott, ended the speculation Tuesday when he announced he was calling the Texas Legislature back for a special session starting July 18.

Gov. Greg Abbott lays out items for a special session at a press conference on June 6, 2017.

Happy Wednesday! Thanks for reading The Brief, The Texas Tribune’s daily newsletter that prepares you for the day ahead. If you have friends who might want to join our list, please forward this email. They can click here to sign up. – BB

What you need to know

It's happening — a special legislative session, that is. Gov. Greg Abbott, ending the speculation, announced Tuesday he was calling the Texas Legislature back for a special session starting July 18, and he laid out an ambitious agenda for lawmakers to work on once they approve must-pass legislation. Here's what you need to know

• Work begins after the Legislature clears a few "sunset" bills. After lawmakers failed to pass crucial "sunset" legislation during the regular session to keep several state agencies — including the Texas Medical Board — alive, Abbott listed it as the first item lawmakers must pass. Once they approve the legislation, Abbott said, they can move on to the other 19 items he laid out Tuesday. 

Get ready for round two of the "bathroom bill" debate. Because the "bathroom bill" didn't clear the Legislature during the legislative session, Abbott included the issue in his special session announcement. The author of a House bill to outlaw municipal and school districts' trans-inclusive bathroom policies confirmed Tuesday that he would again file the proposal. And a representative for the senator who authored a more restrictive version of the measure did not respond to a request for comment when asked if she would file a similar bill. 

• What else did Abbott include in his call for a special session? Abbott included everything from school finance reform to preventing cities from regulating what property owners do with trees on private land in his call for special session. The Capitol will once again be a bustling frenzy, so buckle up, Texans, and subscribe to The Brief for your every #txlege need. 

Tribune today

• In a year of spending cuts, the Texas Legislature boosted financial aid for college students. 

• Gov. Abbott announced he's calling lawmakers back for a special legislative session on July 18. Here's what he's adding to the call

• Texas lawmakers and opponents to the "bathroom bill" are preparing for round two at the Legislature. 

• Some urban officials say the governor's list of priorities for a summer session will harm the Texas economy and undercut local Texans' abilities to influence their communities. 

• From Ross Ramsey: Gov. Abbott snatched the spotlight from his rivals with a long, long list of priorities for a special legislative session — one that takes care of must-do legislation and buries everything else.

• Aside from Tuesday's frenzy with Gov. Abbott announcing a special session, the governor signed into law a bill that creates a statewide ban on texting while driving. 

News from home

Register for the 2017 Texas Tribune Festival! Join us for three days of the best conversations in politics and public policy, Sept. 22-24. Register here.

What we're reading

Links below lead to outside websites; we've noted paywall content with $.

Iran says 2 killed, 30 wounded in twin attacks, The Associated Press

Donald Trump's Michael Bay, Buzzfeed

Democratic Lt. Gov. candidate Mike Collier in Lubbock on Saturday, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

TABC: 19 businesses in Laredo caught selling, serving minors since start of last year, Laredo Morning Times

ICE detains 70 in Dallas, Oklahoma suspected of being in the U.S. illegally, The Dallas Morning News ($)

Bexar County joins city lawsuit against SB 4San Antonio Express-News ($)

Channelview ISD releases teacher accused of giving student 'most likely to become a terrorist' award, The Houston Chronicle ($)

For your calendar 

On June 10: Join us in Austin for a taping of KLRU's Overheard with David Brown, former Dallas police chief, and Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith.

Photo of the day

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott laid out his 20 items for a special legislative session at the State Capitol on June 6. Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera. See more photos on our Instagram account

Quote to note

"I came to Austin to make a difference and to have a voice in that great conversation of Texas. But as the 85th Legislature drew to a close, I was left with the unshakable feeling that the system is broken."

— State Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, about the 85th Texas legislative session via TribTalk

The Brief is written and compiled by your morning news baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Cassi Pollock. If you have feedback or questions, please email thebrief@texastribune.org.

As a nonprofit newsroom, we count on readers like you to help power newsletters like this. Did you like what you read today? Show your appreciation by becoming a member or making a donation today.

Quality journalism doesn't come free

Yes, I'll donate today