Amid repeated calls for a special session of the legislature in the wake of the massacre in Uvalde last week that killed 19 children and two teachers, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is asking Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker Dade Phelan to convene special legislative committees to focus and review five issues.
Abbott sent a letter to Patrick and Phelan Wednesday requesting the new committees examine and develop legislative recommendations on school safety, mental health, social media, police training and firearm safety. Gun control was not included on the list of topics for the committees.
UVALDE SCHOOL SHOOTING
"As Texans mourn the tragedy that occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde last week, we as a state must reassess the twin issues of school safety and mass violence," Abbott said in the letter. "As leaders, we must come together at this time to provide solutions to protect all Texans."
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Under Abbott's direction, the committees will "review what steps previous legislatures have enacted, what resources the state has made available to local school districts, and make recommendations to the legislature and the executive branch" in the five topic areas.
Abbott said it was important the committees begin working immediately.
The governor did not say if he intends to call a special session after the committees make their recommendations. Special sessions and the agenda of those sessions are at the discretion of the governor.
UVALDE SCHOOL SHOOTING
LT. GOV. ANNOUNCES COMMITTEE 'TO PROTECT ALL TEXANS'
Following a request from Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Wednesday to create special committees to focus on school safety, mental health, social media, police training and firearm safety, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick released his list of committee members named to the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans on Wednesday afternoon.
The 11-member Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans will be chaired by Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) and includes two North Texans, Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) and Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) but also excludes state senators from areas where there have been recent mass shootings -- Sen. César J. Blanco (D-El Paso), Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) and Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Galveston).
In a letter shared on Twitter Thursday morning, Gutierrez said Uvalde not having a voice on the committee was a "slap in the face."
Patrick said the committee members, which are 27% Democrat and 73% Republican, represent a cross-section of school districts and communities of all sizes across the state.