Hang in there, folks, for the Texas 87th Legislature’s third special session! Lawmakers return to the Capitol this morning during one of the longest legislative sessions in Texas history – the one to beat is the 71st legislative session which had six called sessions after the close of the regular session. On a personal note, this is the longest the Texas Lege has been in Session in my 27 year career! With big items on the agenda, it’s sure to be a most exciting month! Be sure and check out the bottom of this newsletter for a bit of fun!
Third Special Session
The third special session of the Texas 87th Legislature is set to commence at 10 a.m. this morning. Just two weeks after the close of the second special session, Governor Abbott called back lawmakers to consider and act upon five key issues. And likely more to be added as we go along. The legislature is set to address redistricting for 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; appropriations from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (IE Covid Funding!); participation of students in University Interscholastic League sports; vaccine mandates and subsequent exceptions; and the unlawful restraint of dogs. Yeah for the dogs! There are 46 House bills and 19 Senate bills filed ahead of the start of the third special session. The governor’s proclamation is linked here. Get ready and gear up for round three!
Second Special Session
The second special session brought more results than the first with the return of many out-of-state Democrats. The Election Integrity bill finally made it to the finish line and will go into effect December 2, 2021. Until then, Texas counties will be busy implementing policies to abide by the new law, calculating the increased costs that come with many of its provisions, and determining precisely how the new policy will be enforced. Governor Abbott has signed five other bills passed during the second special session. They are HB 7, relating to the storage or disposal high-level of nuclear waste; HB 20, relating to censorship of or certain other interference with digital expression, including expression on social media platforms or through electronic mail messages; SB 7, relating to a one-time supplemental payment of benefits under the Teacher Retirement System of Texas; SB 13, relating to dates of certain elections to be held in 2022; and SB 15, relating to virtual and off-campus electronic instruction at a public school, the satisfaction of teacher certification requirements through an internship teaching certain virtual courses, and the allotment for certain special-purpose school districts under the Foundation School Program.
The passage of SB 13 in the second special session shifts the dates of certain elections to be held in 2022 based on the completion of new district maps.
If a redistricting plan is adopted before November 15, 2021, an application to be placed on the primary election ballot must be filed between November 29, 2021 and December 13, 2021. The general primary election date would then be March 1, 2022, and the runoff primary election date would be May 24, 2022. If a redistricting plan is adopted after November 15, 2021, but on or before December 28, 2021, the election dates shift to April 5, 2022, and June 21, 2022, respectively. If a redistricting plan is adopted after December 28, 2021, but on or before February 7, 2022, the election dates shift to May 24, 2022, and July 26, 2022, respectively.
A special election will be held September 28, 2021 in Texas House of Representatives District 118 to elect a state representative to serve out the unexpired term of the Honorable Leo Pacheco. Nico LaHood, former Bexar County District Attorney, has also announced his intention to run in the 2022 Republican primary for Texas House District 122, which has been held for the past 11 years by Representative Lyle Larson.
Covid-19 in Texas
Covid-19 seems to be sticking around for the time being. And the Lege Continues to meet despite the Pandemic. Texas case counts remain high, and there has been a marked uptick in the number of cases for children 12 years of age and younger. For those who choose to receive the vaccine, do not forget to go back for the second dose. Attorney General Ken Paxton has brought suit against at least six school districts over mask mandates. At the same time, President Biden has ordered businesses with 100 employees or more to require vaccines for workers. Those who decline must be tested at least weekly for the virus. Federal and healthcare workers must also receive the vaccine. Pending FDA Approval…. Remember, although the vaccine is voluntary for most Texans, Governor Abbott and leaders recommend taking the right steps to lower the risk of getting Covid-19 and acting responsibly to protect each other. Stay safe! It’s a jungle out there!
For some fun – Catch this! How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away? Just adding a little bit of fun to your week! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW9-FOLG-iA
Until next time(s),
Lara Laneri Keel
President, LLK, LLC.