DALLAS — Now that lawmakers know the agenda for the special session currently underway in Austin, Democrats acknowledge there’s very little they can do to stop any of it.
“The speaker of the house created a new special committee, all of the agenda items by the governor, they’re going to go through that committee. It’s a 15-member committee and I believe that there are only six Democrats on there,” Rep. Jessica Gonzalez said on Inside Texas Politics.
And after restoring funding for legislative staffs, which Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed as punishment for the House walkout in the closing hours of the regular session, Democrats are even discussing whether there’s any more reason for them to stick around.
“In my opinion no,” Gonzalez said. “A lot of issues the governor put on the call are addressing divisive issues, bills that didn’t get through the House for a reason.”
Gonzalez said Democrats will know more once committee hearings start. She said if they start taking on the same tone and tenor as the regular session, all options remain on the table, including trying to deny quorum, as they did during the May walkout that effectively killed the election bill.
But the question remains whether that’s truly a viable option, as they would have to stay away for the entirety of the special session. Plus, the governor can just keep calling them.
“From my understanding he can continue calling us for 17 special sessions, so every 30 days up until I guess we would start the next legislative session,” Gonzalez said.
She was one of the Democrats who walked out of the House and said the possibility of staying out-of-state and away from Austin for that long is part of their strategy discussion.
As far as the special session itself, Rep. Gonzalez said only one of the 11 agenda items might get her support: family violence prevention. But even that, she says, is being watered down with conservative amendments she can’t support.
Gonzalez said there really should have only been one main issue to tackle during the special session.
“We all really wish that he would have put something on the call addressing the electric grid. That’s really what we need to be focusing on.”