TX Gov. Abbott Calls Special Legislative Session But Ignores Energy Grid to Focus on Culture War
TX Gov. Greg Abbott is facing a challenge from even more conservative, pro-Trump GOP candidates as he seeks a third term in 2022, so he has called a special session of the Texas legislature to focus on all the culture war issues he can pack into 30 days. It will be a lallapaloosa of right-wing stupidity including bills to ban trans athletes, new abortion and voting restrictions, and, of course, laws to ban the teaching of critical race theory [CRT]. There is even a measure to prevent social media companies from banning extreme and objectively false content on their platforms.
Much of the attention on Abbott's special session will be focused on the new voting restrictions which he had hoped would pass in May. The Gov. wants to make it harder for working class, younger and minority voters to cast ballots by passing legislation that would make casting mail-in ballots harder and ban drive-through voting and 24-hour voting, which were used during the 2020 election in Harris County, home to Houston's many Democratic voters. The GOP in Texas is worried about maintaining their domination over state politics and fears that Texas may become competitive like Georgia and Arizona.
CNN: "The GOP has sought to hang on to that power as the state becomes more competitive: Then-Rep. Beto O'Rourke finished less than 3 percentage points from winning a Senate seat in 2018, and President Joe Biden was less than 6 percentage points behind former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election -- the closest margin in a Texas presidential race since 1996."
Abbott also wants to make it even harder for women to get an abortion. As of 2017, 96% of Texas counties had no local abortion provider, so many have turned to abortion medications obtained through the mail, especially during the pandemic. The Governor wants to make that almost impossible too.
El Paso Matters.org: "The governor’s agenda calls for legislation ... which bans the provision of abortion medication by mail or delivery service, and bans [any] pill-induced abortions after seven weeks into the pregnancy."
Additionally, Abbott aims to ban any discussion in the state's high schools of the existence or history of systemic racism in society and wants to make sure that trans kids don't participate in Texas sports. As we have discussed before in these pages, neither issue has much substance; there are few trans athletes to ban and systemic racism is generally a topic for college level classes and rarely mentioned in high school. Governor Abbott certainly knows this, but also understands that the two culture war issues motivate the GOP's Trumpist base in Texas.
Texas Democrats pointed out that Abbott doesn't seem to be terribly concerned about the state's most pressing issue. The Governor's special session will not be focused on fixing Texas' ailing power grid, the failure of which caused 151 deaths last winter according to state officials, but up to 700 according to an outside study.
Abbott's priorities for the special session say volumes about his moral compass and his competence to lead the state of Texas.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore