The Special Session Has Begun… What Next?

After a short break, the Texas Legislature has returned to Austin for a 30-day special session (which officially began on Tuesday).

As a reminder, the Texas Legislature usually only meets for 140 days every other year. That is, unless the governor decides to call them all back for a special session. Texas Governor Greg Abbott called this special session so that lawmakers could work on a wide array of legislation, including:

  • Reauthorizing several state agencies (including the Texas Medical Board) – This bill needs to pass, or the state agencies will stop running by September. As the Texas Tribune reports, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick had held these bills “hostage” during the regular session, in an effort to force a special session with more of a focus on his priorities, including the controversial bathroom bill legislation.
  • Bathroom bill legislation – Based on the bill drafts that are currently floating around, if passed, this legislation would override local government and school district rules regarding bathroom use for transgender students.
  • School Finance
  • Abortion
  • Property Taxes
  • Election Fraud

In Austin, one of the bills that has gotten the most attention is geared toward outlawing tree protection ordinances that are on the books in Austin and dozens of other cities throughout Texas.

In order to learn more about what these ordinances actually do, the Austin EcoNetwork sat down with a city arborist earlier this week to talk all things trees and the Texas Legislature. You can watch the entire interview below.

Our radio partners Shades of Green also dedicated last week’s show to Austin’s tree protection ordinances. You can listen to the podcast above or on iTunes and Stitcher.

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