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Texas Democrats oppose conservative special session agenda

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Photo by Shayan Faradineh

As the Special Legislative Session is concluding its second week of the 30-day schedule, Texas Democrats remain in opposition to the conservative agenda and have laid out its own priorities.

In a joint news conference on July 17, Democrats from both Texas House of Representatives and the Senate recommended items to be added to Gov. Greg Abbott’s agenda such as criminal justice reform and equal pay.

Democrats have been harsh critics of Abbott’s legislative agenda and the cost it was putting on taxpayers.

Sen. José Rodríguez, D-El Paso and chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus, agreed the “sunset legislation” was a reason to come back, but said it was the only reason to return to Austin.

“Ideally, we would pass that and just go home,” Rodríguez said.

Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie and chair of the House Democratic Caucus, gave a similar response to Abbott’s special session agenda.

“If we are going to have a costly special session, Democrats in the House and Senate believe we ought to use it to get some real work done,” Turner said. “So today, we are here to propose some real solutions to the problems facing Texans, in contrast to the dangerous and divisive policies proposed by the governor and lieutenant governor.”

Abbott said he is closely watching which politicians support his agenda and which do not.

“We all need to establish lists that we publish on a daily basis to call people out,” Abbott said while meeting with the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “Who is for this, who is against this, who has not taken a position yet. No one gets to hide.”

Crystal Perkins, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, believes the policies being discussed are not bettering the lives of constituents of the Lone Star State.

“We are one Texas and we will not be divided by fear-mongering politicians, fringe issues and nonsense,” Perkins said. “The Texas Republicans’ agenda has put our families in peril. We need to focus on real solutions to the issues that matter to all Texans.”

Although disagreements in policies stem from party lines, Democrats do not have the ability to slow or stop the progress of either chambers’ legislative agenda.

While the party seems powerless, Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa remains faithful to opposing the conservative agenda.

“Texas Democrats will continue pressing every single day to make our state a more fair and welcoming place,” Hinojosa said. “For the sake of Texas, we pray Republicans join us.”

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