Abbott’s Third Special Session Starts Today and Texas’ Biggest Issues Are Still Nowhere On The Agenda
AUSTIN, Texas — Banning constitutionally-protected abortion care, spending two billion in taxpayer dollars on fringe anti-immigrant policies, interfering in local officials’ ability to govern — Gov. Greg Abbott is rewriting the playbook on government overreach. Today, the failed and flailing Texas governor is dragging lawmakers back to the Capitol for yet another extra legislative session to advance his own political priorities — but in the third special session of 2021, the biggest issues facing Texans are still nowhere on the agenda.
Here are three major issues that desperately require legislative solutions, and which Abbott continues to ignore:
- Fixing the grid. Texas’ disaster prone, catastrophically unregulated power grid cost the lives of hundreds of people in February’s winter storm. But eight months and multiple legislative sessions later, we’re still waiting for our governor to prioritize fixing the grid so another disaster doesn’t happen again. When you follow the money, it’s easy — and infuriating — to see why.
- Bringing the pandemic to an end. For the entirety of 2020, as Texas families struggled with COVID-19, Abbott refused to call our legislators to the Capitol to deliver much-needed relief to Texans. Instead, Abbott’s reckless COVID-19 mismanagement has exacerbated Texans’ suffering — and now, Abbott is seeking to codify his ban on mask mandates, all but guaranteeing that that suffering will continue.
- Getting more people health care. Texas is the most uninsured state in the country. Yet even during an ongoing global pandemic, Abbott and Texas Republicans have refused to expand Medicaid — leaving billions of dollars of federal health care funding on the table, and blocking affordable health care for nearly a million Texans who would otherwise be eligible. This is simply criminal.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:
“Yet another legislative session is starting today in Texas, and Greg Abbott is already using it to push his personal agenda at the expense of Texans. Abbott is trying to outlaw mask and vaccine mandates that keep people safe. He’s reviving the cruel attacks on trans kids that are already threatening the mental health, safety, and wellbeing of thousands of Texas kids. And with their abysmal record on voting rights, Texas Republicans are sure to lead a redistricting process that will be riddled with discrimination and gerrymandering.
“Fixing the grid is nowhere on the agenda. Expanding health care, and protecting our families from COVID-19, is nowhere on the agenda. And it’s not hard to see why. Greg Abbott is simply more interested in pandering to his rightwing base in the leadup to a tough primary than in making life better for the people he was elected to serve. With the serious issues facing Texans, we urgently need and deserve better. And from now until November 2022, Texas Democrats will be working every single day to make that happen.”