After an abrupt gaveling out sine die last night both chambers have concluded the work they will be doing for this special session.
Even though it was a day early, the Texas Legislature accomplished more than many expected them to when the session was called. Just as the session was beginning a month ago many thought that Speaker Joe Straus would pass the Texas Medical Board sunset bill and gavel out or as it became known “sunset and sine die.”
It turns out 11 of the 20 called items were passed. While some of the more controversial topics failed to move, it is likely enough to give Gov. Greg Abbott an out to avoid calling another special session.
Here are the call topics that were passed and the bills associated with them. Some measures only partially fulfilled the call.
Texas Medical Board Sunset Bill – Legislation amending Sections 151.004, 501.005, 502.003, 503.005, and 505.005 of the Texas Occupations Code to extend the expiration dates applicable to the Texas Medical Board, the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors, and the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners.
Teachers Salary Increase – Legislation to increase the average salary and benefits (including TRS-Care) of Texas teachers; and legislation to provide a more flexible and rewarding salary and benefit system for Texas teachers.
Bills Passed: HB 30
School Finance Reform – Legislation establishing a statewide commission to study and recommend improvements to the current public school finance system; and other legislation relating to school finance, including Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR).
Bills Passed: HB 21
School Choice For Special Needs – Legislation to empower parents of children with special needs or educational disadvantages to choose an educational provider that is best for their child.
Bills Passed: HB 21 had some grants for autism and dyslexia, but no stand-alone bill passed.
Local Permits (Tree Ordinances) – Legislation expediting the issuance of permits by political subdivisions and reforming the laws governing the issuance of permits by political subdivisions.
Bills Passed: HB 7 A similar bill had passed during the regular session and was vetoed by the governor.
Abortion Insurance Reform – Legislation restricting health plan and health benefit plan coverage for abortions.
Bills Passed: HB 214
Abortion Complication Reporting – Legislation strengthening the laws applicable to the reporting of abortions and abortion complications to the state.
Patient Protections – Legislation enhancing patient protections contained in the procedures and requirements for do-not-resuscitate orders.
Bills Passed: SB 11
Mail-In Ballot Fraud – Legislation enhancing the detection, prosecution, and elimination of mail-in ballot fraud.
Bills Passed: SB 5
Maternal Morbidity Task Force – Legislation continuing the operation and expanding the duties of the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force to ensure action is taken to reduce the maternal mortality rate in Texas.
Bills Passed: SB 17
Municipal Annexation Reform – Legislation reforming the authority of municipalities to annex territory, to exert control over territory, or to regulate the use of annexed land or land in a municipality’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.
Bills Passed: SB 6
Not all the bills that have been sent to the governor have been signed, but Gov. Abbott is expected to sign them all.
The following called issues did not have a bill sent to the Governor this special session.
Property Tax Reform – Legislation reforming the laws governing ad valorem property taxes.
Spending Limit for State Government – Legislation using population growth and inflation to establish a spending limit for state government.
Spending Limit for Local Government – Legislation using population growth and inflation to establish a spending limit for political subdivisions.
Property Right Protections – Legislation protecting the private property rights of land owners from political subdivision rules, regulations, or ordinances that interfere with, delay, or restrict private property owners’ ability to use or enjoy their property.
Property Acquisition Grandfather Clause – Legislation preventing political subdivisions from imposing on private property additional or enhanced regulations that did not exist at the time the property was acquired.
Statewide Texting While Driving Preemption – Legislation preempting local regulation of the use of hand-held mobile communication devices while driving.
Privacy Act / Bathroom Bill – Legislation regarding the use of multi-occupancy showers, locker rooms, restrooms, and changing rooms.
Blocking Public Unions from Automatic Deduction (Except First Responders) – Legislation prohibiting state or local government entities from deducting labor union or employee organization membership fees or dues from the wages of public employees.
Defunding Abortion Facilities from Local Government Contract – Legislation prohibiting financial transactions between a governmental entity and an abortion provider or affiliate of the abortion provider.
Sunset Scheduling – Legislation adjusting the scheduling of Sunset Commission review of state agencies.
Even with some of the most talked about bills not receiving a hearing, it is unlikely there will be another special session anytime soon.