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New House Committee Raises Questions in Lead-Up to First Special Session

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On Tuesday, just two days before the beginning of the first special legislative session, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan created the House Select Committee on Constitutional Rights and Remedies.

Given the prescribed jurisdiction of the newly formed committee, many Texans are puzzled as to how issues signaled to be on the impending special session agenda might fit.

What Issues Will Be Considered During the Special Session?

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has not yet publicly released a list of items that will be on the agenda for the special session. It is widely assumed that issues like election integrity, bail reform, protections for free speech on social media platforms, and unknown improvements to the ban on critical race theory in public schools will be on the call, given previous statements from Abbott himself.

There is also the issue of restoring funding for the Legislature. Abbott employed his line-item veto powers a few weeks back and stripped that funding for the next fiscal biennium starting September 1, in retaliation for some of his emergency legislative priorities, such as election integrity, not getting across the finish line in the regular legislative session.

Who Sits on This Committee?

The new committee is composed of 15 lawmakers that include nine Republicans and six Democrats.

The committee is chaired by State Rep. Trent Ashby (R–Lufkin). Its vice chairman is Democrat State Rep. Senfronia Thompson (Houston). Committee members include John Bucy (D–Cedar Park), Travis Clardy (R–Nacogdoches), Charlie Geren (R–Ft. Worth), Jacey Jetton (R–Sugar Land), Ann Johnson (D–Houston), Stephanie Klick (R–Ft. Worth), Brooks Landgraf (R–Odessa), J.M. Lozano (R–Kingsville), Oscar Longoria (D–Mission), Joe Moody (D–El Paso), Victoria Neave (D–Dallas), Matt Shaheen (R–Allen), and James White (R–Hillister).

“The issues that the Legislature will be tasked with undertaking are by their very nature complex, and a select committee with expanded membership and

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