Gov. Greg Abbott unveils legislative priorities, including police funding, “election integrity,” expanding broadband access and more

Feb 2, 2021 by

2.1.21 – Texas Tribune

“Gov. Greg Abbott unveils legislative priorities, including police funding, “election integrity,” expanding broadband access and more”

By Patrick Svitek

Excerpts from this article (with my helpful formatting added for clarity):

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday unveiled a legislative agenda centered on the state’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and a series of more politically charged issues such as police funding and “election integrity.”

…Abbott designated…items that the Legislature can vote on within the first 60 day of the session, which began Jan. 12. Those items were (1) expanding broadband internet access, (2) punishing local governments that “defund the police” as he defines it, (3) changing the bail system, (4) ensuring what he described as “election integrity” and (5) providing civil liability protections for businesses that were open during the pandemic.

Abbott also asked lawmakers (6)  to pass laws that would strengthen civics education in Texas classrooms, (7) further restrict abortion and (8) make Texas a “Second Amendment sanctuary state.” On issues stemming from the pandemic, Abbott called for (9) legislation to permanently expand telemedicine and (10) to prevent “any government entity from shutting down religious activities in Texas.” And Abbott briefly touched on the debate among some in his own party (11) over how aggressively he has wielded his executive powers to respond to the coronavirus.

This will be Abbott’s last session before he is up for reelection in 2022, and he alluded to one potential Democratic challenger for a third term: Beto O’Rourke, the former El Paso congressman. Abbott said gun rights are “under attack” and noted politicians have said, “Heck yes, the government is coming to get your guns” — a paraphrase of O’Rourke’s 2019 statement embracing a mandatory buyback program for assault weapons.

…While Abbott and other top Texas Republicans have made clear they plan to vigorously challenge President Joe Biden’s policies, the governor made only one allusion to Biden in his speech, saying that “because of the federal government’s open border policies, (12) Texas must fortify its efforts to secure our border.”

…Abbott did not mention any particular proposal to penalize local governments that cut police funding, though he has previously pitched ideas like freezing property tax revenues for cities that do so…

…While Abbott did not go too in depth on some topics, he prescribed a specific piece of legislation when it came to changing the bail system: the Damon Allen Act. The proposal, which Abbott unsuccessfully pushed last session, is named after a slain state trooper. The suspect in Allen’s death was out on bond. Bail reform efforts often aim to stop cash bail practices that hold people in jail before they are convicted solely because they are poor, but Abbott said last week his bill would focus instead on keeping “dangerous criminals off the streets.”

On abortion — another area where Texas already has some of the toughest laws in the country — Abbott specified that he wanted to “make explicit what should be obvious: No unborn child should be targeted for abortion on the basis on race, sex or disability.” Similar legislation filed last session would have barred later-term abortions even in the case of severe fetal abnormalities, which critics refer to as “discriminatory abortions.”

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1 Comment

  1. Paula Whitaker

    TEXAS needs to take the same stance as the Republicans in North Dakota to take back control from Biden on all of his executive orders in place the power back With the constitution of the United States.
    The legislature needs to take up these bills! In North Dakota HB 1282 Introduced by Republican! Sebastian ERTELT created what legislatures are calling a committee on nullification! introduced by Republican! Sebastian ERTELT created what legislatures are calling a committee on nullification!
    In other words upon receipt of an executive order the committee shall recommend after research whether to nullify his executive order in their state and it’s entirety and the committee shall consider whether the legislation or executive order is outside the scope of the powers delegated to the federal government or the President and if it is in conflict to the constitution of the United States. TEXAS AND ALL OTHER STATES NEED TO TAKE “WE THE PEOPLE’S” Constitutional rights back LIKE BORDER PROTECTION AND THE WALL FOR SECURITY AND SAFETY, STOP ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AND OPEN BORDER TO CRIMINALS, Legislation on Unconstitutional ELECTION LAWS JUST ENACTED THAT ARE ABSOLUTELY ILLEGAL!
    RIGHTS! Please stand against these “TREASONOUS“ Executive Orders and Federal Legislation! OR VOTE TO HAVE TEXAS TO SUCCEED FROM THE UNION AND BECOME A REPUBLIC AGAIN!!!❤️❤️❤️