AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today announced his plans to call the Texas Legislature back for a special session to address many legislative issues that were not passed during the 85th Regular Session. Representative Simmons conveyed his full support to Governor Abbott in taking this strong, decisive action.
Special Session Begins July 18th, 2017
Among Governor Abbott’s 20 items for a special session, several of Representative Simmons’ legislative priorities were added to the call, including statewide regulation of privacy in multiple occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities, school choice for special needs children, and restricting state and local spending.
Representative Simmons said, “I am honored that Governor Abbott placed my legislation on the call for a special session.” He continued, “My staff and I look forward to going back to work for Texans who are eager to see these and other reforms addressed during the upcoming special session.”
Governor Abbott named school choice for special needs children as another item on the call for the special session. “We should work to provide better options for students with special needs. I’ve talked with countless parents who shed tears of joy when talking about the potential for them to be able to choose the school that is best for their child’s needs,” said Governor Abbott. He continued, “During the regular session, Representative Simmons authored a bill that would have addressed this issue, but that bill never made it to the House floor. I want to give this bill another shot, so I am adding school choice for special needs children to the call for this special session.” The bill, House Bill 1335, was heard in the House Committee on Public Education, but was also left pending in committee.
On legislation addressing privacy concerns, Governor Abbott also stated, “Another way to avoid a patchwork quilt of conflicting local regulations is for Texas to establish a single statewide rule protecting the privacy of women and children. House Bill 2899 filed by Representative Ron Simmons would achieve that.” The governor continued, “It preempts local regulations that conflict with state standards. It also upholds federal standards that prohibit discrimination.” Testimony was taken on House Bill 2899 in the House Committee on State Affairs in April, but was left pending in committee and therefore not brought to a vote in the Texas House of Representatives.
Governor Abbott also called for legislation pertaining to limiting the growth on state spending to a rate not exceeding the population growth rate plus the inflation rate. Representative Simmons said, “I was proud to sponsor Senate Bill 9 by Senator Kelly Hancock during the 85th Regular Session, which would have accomplished Governor Abbott’s objective. Ensuring that proper safeguards are in place to control our government's spending is an important step in adequately protecting the Texas taxpayer; I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Hancock and other state leaders to ensure passage of this important legislation.“
Special sessions may last up to 30 days, and there is no limit to the amount of special sessions that the Governor may call.
Contact: Zach Flores