Governor Greg Abbott added a property tax break and a constitutional amendment to the third special session of the year on Wednesday to address bail changes.
“These two additional items on the agenda are critical to improving the quality of life for all Texans,” Abbott said in a statement. “I look forward to working with my partners in the legislature to get these extra elements passed that will lower property taxes and keep Texans safe.”
Abbott’s new priorities come as lawmakers are already busy redrawing the state’s political maps for the next 10 years, regulating which teams transgender student athletes can play on, and determining if COVID-19 vaccines are mandatory should be. Legislators will also determine how to spend $ 16 billion on federal COVID-19 relief funds and whether to pass a law protecting dogs from being tethered without adequate shelter or space – a law Abbott started against vetoed this year.
Abbott has been pressured by its right to further emphasize the need for wealth tax breaks. One of his Republican challengers in next year’s governor’s primary, Don Huffines, a former state senator, criticized Abbott for not initially adding property tax breaks to the special session. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made this his top priority for the session, although the governor is the only one who can choose the items lawmakers can work on during the special sessions.
Bail resolutions to amend the Texas Constitution have failed in earlier sessions this year, as the measures must be approved by two-thirds of both chambers before they can be passed by the Texas electorate. In previous sessions, the proposals would allow courts to deny any form of bail to defendants charged with violent or sexual crimes.
In Texas, almost everyone arrested has a constitutional right to bail, although cash can be very high. The current exemptions that allow judges to withhold bail apply to defendants of capital murder or those charged with certain repeated crimes or bail violations.
Jolie McCullough contributed to this report.
This story was first published on https://www.texastribune.org by The Texas Tribune. This story has been edited lengthways. The Texas Tribune is a non-partisan, nonprofit media organization that educates and interacts with Texans on public order, politics, government and statewide issues.