Texas Governor Announces Fourth Special Session: Amid Deadlock on Immigration and Education

Governor Abbott Announces Fourth Special Session Agenda | Future Education Magazine


In an unexpected move, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has called for a fourth special legislative session this year, following a series of unresolved disputes and political gridlock that have prevented critical bills from moving forward. The latest fourth special session is set to commence at 5 p.m., shortly after lawmakers adjourned the third special session earlier in the morning.

Texas, known for its part-time legislature, has deviated from its usual legislative schedule this year due to prolonged tensions and disagreements within the state’s Republican leadership. These disputes have hindered progress on crucial issues, including the use of public school funds for private education and the authority of local and state law enforcement to apprehend individuals suspected of crossing the Texas border illegally. The Democratic opposition, though lacking the votes to halt these measures, has employed tactics to obstruct the legislative process and prevent the proposals from moving forward.

Governor Abbott, in a press release, stated, “The Texas Legislature made progress over the past month protecting Texans from forced COVID-19 vaccinations and increasing penalties for human smuggling. However, there is more work to be done.”

During the upcoming fourth special session, lawmakers will focus on a substantial education overhaul that could permit families to utilize public school funds for private and homeschooling, implement school safety measures, allocate more resources to border security operations within the Department of Public Safety, and introduce a measure that allows state and local law enforcement officers to arrest individuals who cross into Texas illegally.

One of the contentious issues in the previous session was a border security measure. The disagreement arose over whether detained immigrants should be taken to a port of entry or held in state and local jails. Discord between the two legislative chambers, led by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker of the House Dade Phelan, ultimately led to the failure of the proposal.

Another major point of contention is the use of tax dollars for private schools. Over 20 rural Republican lawmakers have opposed this measure, blocking its passage in the House. They are demanding the same level of accountability for private schools as public schools and expressing concerns that it could drain funding from public education. The Texas Senate has passed a “school choice” measure multiple times this year, exacerbating the divide.

Texas Fourth Special Session Agenda

The governor has the sole authority to determine the agenda items for a fourth special session. Governor Abbott has outlined the following agenda for the fourth special session:


Legislation about primary and secondary education includes establishing an education savings account program, certification, compensation, and health coverage of certain public school employees, the public school finance system, special education in public schools, educational grant programs, reading instruction, and early childhood education.

Legislation to support the education of public school students, including certain educational grant programs, reading instruction, early childhood education, the provision of virtual education, and public school accountability. Legislation related to school safety measures and state funding mechanisms for these initiatives.

Border Security:

Legislation aimed at reducing illegal immigration by establishing criminal offenses for illegal entry into Texas from a foreign nation and illegal reentry or presence following denial of admission, exclusion, deportation, or removal.

Authorization for the removal of illegal immigrants from Texas. Provision of indemnification and immunity for public officials, employees, or contractors in connection with the foregoing. Legislation to hinder illegal entry into Texas by providing additional funding for the construction, operation, and maintenance of border barrier infrastructure.

Additional funding for the Department of Public Safety for border security operations, including overtime expenses and costs related to an increased law enforcement presence. As Texas gears up for yet another special session, the ongoing political divisions and disputes within the state’s leadership raise questions about the potential for compromise and progress on these critical issues. Only time will tell whether lawmakers can find common ground and enact meaningful legislation during this extraordinary year of legislative activity.

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