Abbott asserts himself, reminds Texas GOP leaders only he calls special sessions

Gov. Greg Abbott asserted himself Thursday when he said he would ultimately have the final say if there’s any special session called.

Abbott’s comments come after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, earlier this week, unexpectedly called for a special session to push through more bills that would please the conservative base of Republican voters.

"That’s pretty goofy... everybody knows there’s only one person with the authority to call a special session and that’s the governor and only I have that ability and only I will execute that authority," Abbott told reporters during an event in Fort Worth on Thursday.

Gov. Abbott appeared to put his foot down on jumping to the idea of a special session.

"Not only am I the only one that gets to call a special session, I get to decide when and I get to decide what will be in that special session," the governor added.

Patrick's wants the special session to tackle the controversial transgender athlete bill, a measure to prevent social media platforms from blocking people because of political views and a ban on taxpayer funded lobbying. All of those bills died this week in the legislature. 

Patrick responded later in the day to Abbott’s comments in an interview with FOX 4.

"It's not goofy to ask the governor for a special session and he said this week, 'Well the two teams they can get together the last few days.' Well, the rules say on Tuesday in the House those bills were dead, they can’t be revived, so the only way we can pass them is to request a special session. I don’t think it’s goofy to request a special session," Patrick said.

But Patrick also said that he would not hold hostage operating authorizations for certain agencies that would trigger a special session if they weren’t passed.

In 2017, Patrick was pushing the bathroom bill and he held back sunset legislation that keeps state agencies running.

The governor called a special session so both issues could be addressed.

Patrick did not bring up a similar sunset bill before a deadline Wednesday night, but he said they will use other legislation to get the job done…this time.

"We’re not holding anything hostage, we’re not forcing a special session. I could if we held that bill back, but we need our law enforcement commission, we need our agriculture commission because that would be shut down too. So we’re going to pass that bill out," he explained.

Abbott swatted away a question about the state’s leadership seemingly not being in sync.

"Well I mean look, if you look at the last few days of a session that we've over decades, this is kind of how it happens always at the end of the session," the governor said. "What I do know is if the leaders in the legislature will stop fighting with each other and start working together we can get all of this across the finish line."

Still, Abbott's message was rather direct to the Republican leadership on both sides of the capitol. 

"I’m going to make sure that we get things passed, not just open up some debating society," Abbott said.

Patrick also claimed Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan and his leadership team "purposefully" killed those three bills that expired Tuesday by not moving them quicker.

The House has been critical over the Senate not moving on some of its legislation.

Phelan has not yet given his opinion on a special session.

The current legislative session is set to end May 31.


Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick calls for special legislative session to revive priority bills

Transgender sports bill among those that died in the Texas House at midnight