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What to expect during special session
Posted on July 6, 2017 at 6:03 pm

With the special legislative session less than 2 weeks away we, at Equality Texas, want to make sure you are fully prepared and know what to expect.

Your actions matter. Whether you are able to be in Austin at any point during the 30 days, or you are keeping up with the special session at home, it is important that you stay engaged. There will be many opportunities during the special session for you to be involved.

  • Be present at the Capitol: If you are able, make yourself present at the capitol. Visit your legislators, thank those allies who stand with us and sit in the gallery and be visible.
  • Promote articles and our hashtag on social media: Like, share, and retweet posts and use the hashtag #YallMeansAll, #OneTX and #TXLege.
  • Call or email your state senator and state representative: Make sure to call or email your legislator and tell that not to support discriminatory legislation like the bathroom bill. Be sure to take action on action alerts sent by Equality Texas and our coalition partners during the special session.
  • Visit your state senator or state representative: Visiting legislative offices in-district can be just as effective as being in Austin; district staff will get the message to the legislator in Austin.

The rules are different. Rules for the special session are very different than they were during the regular session. Because there is very limited time to deal with legislative business, only 30 days, the deadlines and posting periods are shorter. For example, the posting period for a hearing on a bill is only 24 hours, which means we will only have a 24-hour notice to prepare and organize for a potential bathroom bill hearing. Public testimony could last 12-24 hours, however, the chair may limit public testimony or shut down the hearing at any moment. It is important to be prepared for anything and to be ready to mobilize when and if the rules are changed.

Similar to the situation that unfolded with the bathroom bill during the regular session, it is very likely that the Senate will move very quickly. Because Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has a super majority in the Senate, he has the ability to suspend constitutional rules.  While we do plan on making our voices heard, don’t be discouraged at the speed at which legislation moves on the Senate side. We expect that the Senate will vote out a bathroom bill in the first week of special session, and we will take the fight to the House where we have a better chance of slowing down legislation.

Self-care is important. The special session has the potential for being emotional and triggering for many people. It is important that you take care of yourself both physically and mentally. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. There will be multiple offices at the Capitol designated as safe zones with staff from allied organizations there to help direct you. An attack on one is an attack on all and we are all here to support and affirm during this difficult time.

Make sure to stay up to date by following Equality Texas on Facebook and Twitter.

Lou Weaver, Transgender Programs Coordinator

Brad O’Furey, Government Relations Manager