(The Center Square) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called a third special legislative session to begin Monday to address school choice, border security and other initiatives.
“I am bringing the Texas Legislature back for Special Session #3 to continue building on the achievements we accomplished during the 88th Regular Legislative Session and two special sessions this summer,” Abbott said. “Together, we will chart a brighter future for all Texas children by empowering parents to choose the best education option for their child.”
Abbott called the session after school choice measures failed during the regular session and the previous special sessions were called to address and pass an historic property tax reform package.
As record numbers of people continue to pour through the southern border, Abbott also said, “Texas will also pass laws to mirror the federal immigration laws President Joe Biden refuses to enforce that will reduce illegal immigration and enhance the safety of Texans.
“For the first time ever, Texas will subject people to arrest for illegal entry into our state from a foreign nation. All licensed law enforcement officers in Texas will be authorized to arrest or remove any person who illegally enters the State, with penalties up to 20 years in prison for refusing to comply with removal. To crack down on repeated attempts to enter Texas illegally, re-entry will be penalized with up to 20 years in prison.”
The governor made the announcement after several border security bills, including HB 20, failed during the regular legislative session. Several new laws already are in effect, including designating cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, creating an interstate compact, and expanding resources for law enforcement. Abbott signed four bills into law related to fentanyl, as well as eight new public safety bills, which went into effect Sept. 1.
The third special session agenda will first prioritize a school choice bill, requesting the legislature to consider and pass an education freedom bill to provide education savings accounts for all Texas school children.
Next, it prioritizes border security bills, including having the legislation “to do more to reduce illegal immigration by creating a criminal offense for illegal entry into this state from a foreign nation and authorizing all licensed peace officers to remove illegal immigrants from Texas.”
Another bill would “impede illegal entry into Texas by increasing the penalties for criminal conduct involving the smuggling of persons or the operation of a stash house.” Another would “impede illegal entry into Texas by providing more funding for the construction, operation, and maintenance of border barrier infrastructure.”
The third item on the agenda is public safety, including “security, environmental quality, and property ownership in areas like the Colony Ridge development in Liberty County, Texas,” referring to the controversy and allegations made about a neighborhood north of Houston.
The fourth agenda item is to end COVID restrictions by prohibiting private employers from enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates.