Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called state lawmakers into a second special legislative session Tuesday with no talks of border security and immigration on the agenda, just hours after the first one wrapped up with the Republican-led Legislature in a stalemate over property taxes.
Abbott’s first special session agenda focused on property taxes and border security. It ended Tuesday afternoon with no deals on either issue and bitter disagreement among the chambers on how to cut property taxes and by how much.
The third legislative session of 2023 continues a series of rough patches for the GOP in America’s most populous red state, most notably with the impeachment of Republican Attorney General, Ken Paxton. Paxton is to be tried in the Texas Senate in September.
Abbott further tightened the agenda for the second round to only property taxes, adding that he'll keep calling lawmakers to the Capitol "until property tax cut legislation reaches my desk."
Although the governor can add agenda items later in the 30-day special session, the second session's agenda marks at least a temporary pivot away from immigration and border security issues that have flared again nationally ahead of the 2024 election.
On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visited the Texas-Mexico border to unveil an immigration policy proposal — his first as a 2024 presidential contender — that included ending birthright citizenship and completing a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, among other GOP immigration priorities. He also echoed Abbott's claims of an "invasion" along the southern border.
"I think the state of Texas has the right to declare an invasion," DeSantis, a Republican, told an audience member at an event in Eagle Pass on Monday.
During the state's regular biennial session, which ended May 29, Texas lawmakers allocated over $5 billion for border security. Days later, Abbott unveiled a new initiative — floating marine barriers that will be deployed at "hotspots along the Rio Grande River."
According to a June announcement from Abbott's office, the first 1,000 of the water-based border security device will be deployed near Eagle Pass — the same region where nine migrants died while attempting to cross the river in September.