State lawmakers wrap up 2nd special session with controversial bills headed to governor’s desk

Texas Politics

AUSTIN, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — State lawmakers are returning home today, after closing the state’s second special session.

They passed to Republican priorities, including the controversial elections bill, $1.8 billion in funding for border security, and a tighter ban on Critical Race Theory in the classroom.

Even with some bipartisan bills making it to the finish line, recent polls show Texans are still not satisfied.

More Texans are paying attention to the legislature this summer.

“I really do like the voting law that was recently passed,” said Jeff Booth of Amarillo.

“I don’t know why there are so many measures being passed to restrict voter fraud that isn’t happening…protecting from a problem that isn’t happening,” said Skyler of Austin.

“Your choices are your own consequences, so if you choose to be pregnant, you shouldn’t really have that choice to have an abortion without a medical reason,” said Rylee of Wichita Falls.

According to Nick of Wichita Falls, “If it was forced, I feel like they shouldn’t have to have the baby, I feel like they should have the option to get the abortion.”

Polling from the Texas Politics Project shows, in April, only half of those polled said they were paying attention to the legislative session. In August, that jumped to 74%.

But, more eyes doesn’t mean more thumbs up, according to Jim Henson of the Texas Politics Project.

“The approval level of the legislature was certainly lower than it was earlier in the year,” he said. “As was the approval level of virtually all statewide officials that we tested.”

The governor’s approval rating is at its lowest in five years, sitting at 41%. Democrats said that’s because he’s catering to conservative primary voters.

“Most of the energy was focused on red meat items, and not necessarily items that the majority of Texans really care about,” said State Rep. Ron Reynolds, (D – Missouri City). “We really didn’t focus on fixing the grid, we could have focused on Medicaid expansion.”

But Republicans point to bipartisan bills that also made it to the finish line.

“Foster care is not a red meat issue…13th check for retired teachers is not that…COVID relief is not that,” State Rep. Jim Murphy, (R- Houston) said.

Ultimately, fighting between and within the parties have also affected Texans’ opinions.

“Democrats and Republicans have strong and intense, intense disagreements about almost everything that was on the agenda that we’ve and almost all of the major political stories that we’ve seen over the course of the summer,” Henson said.

The bills passed this session still need to be signed by the governor before becoming law, and there’s another special session right around the corner that will be focused on redistricting since this year’s census data was delayed due to COVID.

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