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Texas lawmakers begin special session to address voting, critical race theory, and more

The Texas legislature met Thursday for the beginning of a special session where the legislators are expected to consider several measures such as laws on election integrity and voting rights, critical race theory, and abortion.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, on June 23, called for the special session of the legislature to pass measures that didn’t reach a vote during the normal session

“We have unfinished business to ensure that Texas remains the most exceptional state in America,” Abbott said on Wednesday when he released the session’s agenda, according to Reuters.

Abbott was referring to a May 30 incident right before the end of the state’s regular session when a group of Democrats walked out of the statehouse, denying the Republicans the quorum needed to pass their election bill. Abbott’s agenda contains 11 bills from the previous session, including Known as SB 1, which aims “to reduce the likelihood of fraud in the conduct of elections,” according to The Hill.

The election integrity measure would ban curbside voting, limit dropbox usage, and new requirements for early voting. The bill would also ban unsolicited vote-by-mail applications and vote harvesting, whereby groups collecting completed absentee ballots to deliver to polling places.

Other bills include legislation similar to House Bill 3507, which concerns whether schools can teach critical race theory, and Senate Bill 394, which would prohibit people “from providing abortion-inducing drugs by mail or delivery service.”

The specials session could last up to 30 days. 

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