Texas special session ends in an abrupt fashion

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Special to the Prospector

Adrian Broaddus, Editor-In-Chief

This week the Texas special legislative session came to an end, now with a widening divide between the House and the Senate.

One of the most important priorities for Governor Greg Abbott was the the topic of property taxes, but the House decided to end their session one day early, leaving the issue unanswered.

The House argued that homeowners should be given the right to more transparency within the appraisal and tax bills they receive each year, while the Senate wanted to put it to a voter approval.

However, the House showed some compromise with the Senate’s version of adding the required vote if the Senate agreed on increasing the tax rate by more than 6 percent. But, the Senate held firm on their 4 percent rate. In the next legislative session, property tax will likely be a key topic since it was left unfinished.

During the session, the Bathroom Bill, which aimed to set guidelines around transgender bathroom usage in public buildings, failed to pass. However, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick believes this bill will come back in 2019 because he said voters will demand it.

A bill that made it through both chambers was the education finance reform. While the House initially hoped for a $1.8 billion infusion into public schools’ budgets and to rectify the distribution process of funds to the school districts to gear more for teachers, the Senate focused on allocating funds to the study of where these school districts should put their funding.

Abbott was very frustrated Wednesday, Aug. 16, after the House adjourned earlier than he expected and he blamed House Speaker Joe Straus for cutting the session short. He also left the door open for another special session being called in the near future.