Governor Abbott signs several pieces of legislation in special session

Governor Abbott Signs Legislation Extending Maternal Mortality And Morbidity Task Force

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today signed Senate Bill 17 (SB 17) to extend the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force. The task force studies pregnancy-related deaths in Texas, and will provide invaluable information and insight on how the Texas health care system can target better treatments for diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and post-partum depression.

“As Governor, I am committed to doing everything we can to combat the maternal mortality rate in this state,” said Governor Abbott. “Now that the task force can continue its work,Texas will be equipped with the most accurate information to help ensure the safety of Texas women. I am grateful to the Texas legislature for passing this law, and specifically Sen. Lois Kolkhorst and Rep. Cindy Burkett for their leadership on this issue.”

Governor Abbott Signs Legislation Restricting Municipal Fees For Removal Of Trees On Private Property

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today signed House Bill 7 (HB 7) to restrict overaggressive fees municipalities can charge for the removal of trees on private property. This bill also requires municipalities to offer tree planting credits to offset tree removal fees. Protecting private property rights in Texas was an important part of the Governor’s special session call.

“Texas families that work hard for the dream of one day owning their own property should be able to do what they want with it,” said Governor Abbott. “This bill is an important step toward protecting individual liberty from regulatory overreach by local governments, and allowing homeowners to be conservators of their land. I am thankful to the Texas legislature and to Sen. Lois Kolkhorst and Rep. Dade Phelan for their efforts in preventing Texans from being subject to burdensome fees regarding on their private property.”

ACLU Comment on End of Texas Legislative Special Session

AUSTIN — Yesterday the Texas legislature ended its special session after having passed nine of the 20 items requested by Gov. Greg Abbott when he called the session. Increased abortion reporting for minors and a ban on insurance coverage for abortion care were among the laws passed, while the controversial “bathroom bill” was not.

“While I’m relieved the special session has adjourned without targeting transgender Texans for discrimination and abuse, this legislature has otherwise done a great deal of damage this year,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas. “This has been the most vindictive legislative session of my lifetime. Our lawmakers have singled out our vibrant Latino communities with one of the most anti-immigrant laws in the nation. They have made it harder for LGBT couples to welcome children into their loving homes. And they have abandoned even the pretense of protecting women’s health with their additional restrictions to abortion access. There is no rest for us at the ACLU, or for any Texan who cherishes civil liberties, at the end of this session. The work ahead will be more challenging than at any other time any of us can recall.”

Governor Abbott Signs Legislation Reforming Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders In Texas

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today signed Senate Bill 11 (SB 11) to strengthen patient protections related to Do-Not Resuscitate Orders. This bill closes a loophole in state law that permitted doctors to place Do-Not Resuscitate Orders on patients without their consent. Protecting life in all its forms was an essential part of the Governor’s special session agenda.

“Patients’ rights must be protected when it comes to decisions about their care,” said Governor Abbott. “This carefully crafted legislation requires patient consent before a Do-Not Resuscitate Order can be enacted. I thank Rep. Greg Bonnen and Sen. Charles Perry for their leadership on this important bill, and I commend the legislature for getting it to my desk this special session.”

Governor Abbott Signs School Finance Reform Legislation

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today signed House Bill 21 (HB 21) to create a school finance commission as well as provide immediate funding for public education, historic funding for charter school facilities and new programs for students with special needs. This bill also includes benefits for retired teachers in Texas and hardship grants for Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR) school districts. Creating a school finance commission so that Texas can continue the process of reforming its broken school finance system, as well as improving benefits for Texas retired teachers, were top priorities included in the Governor’s special session call.

“Nothing is more important than preparing our children for their future, which is why Texas will continue to prioritize investments in education” said Governor Abbott. “My job as governor is to ensure that we attract and we retain the best and brightest educators and provide the highest quality education possible for all students. I want to thank Sen. Larry Taylor and Rep. Phil King for working toward this goal on behalf of both Texas educators and students this special session.”