Texas gov called special session to protect bigots and rapists, won't for hurricane victims


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who called back the state legislature for a "bathroom bill" and "rape insurance" bill, does not seem to think it's an urgent legislative matter that the largest city in Texas is underwater.

Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott has been struggling to keep his state running as Hurricane Harvey devastated coastal communities and flooded the city of Houston.

In the process, Abbott has made some questionable decisions, like contradicting the mayor of Houston to urge an early evacuation, despite the fact that Houston tried this in 2005 during Hurricane Rita and the death toll from freeway wrecks made it even worse.

Now, Abbott has raised eyebrows by refusing to call a special session of the Texas state legislature to deal with Hurricane Harvey cleanup.


Abbott insists that the Texas "rainy day fund" will be sufficient to provide relief, although many in his own party expected more. Houston Republican Sen. Paul Bettencourt, one of the highest ranking members in the state senate, previously said, "My personal assumption right now is that we will probably be back in Austin at work no later than January."

The Texas state legislature only has one scheduled session per term. That means without a special session called by the governor, state lawmakers cannot convene to discuss Harvey relief until 2019.

As a reminder, Abbott eagerly called a special session just one month ago to address a host of other issues he thought were too pressing to wait until then, including school vouchers, a ban on private abortion coverage that requires women to buy separate "rape insurance," a ban on cities enacting tree protection ordinances, and, of course, a bathroom bill.

The idea that any of these things would be more important than relief for flood victims is appalling.

The governor of Texas, much like Donald Trump, apparently sees himself as serving only a narrow subset of right-wing fringe voters.

But if Abbott truly wants to do right by the Lone Star State and his constituents who are trying to recover from a massive natural disaster, it is high time he rethought his priorities.