Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott is seeking legislative advice in response to the shooting of Uwalde

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Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday called on the Texas legislature to set up special committees to make legislative recommendations in response to the shooting at the Uwalde school.

In a letter to House Speaker Dade Phelan and Lieutenant-Governor Dan Patrick, Senate Speaker, Abbott told his fellow Republicans that the state “must reassess the dual issues of school safety and mass violence.” He said the committee process should start “immediately” and outlined five topics he would like the committees to address.

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In particular, topics include “firearms safety”. Abbott last week essentially ruled out gun restrictions in response to a massacre in which a gunman killed 19 students and two adults last week at Rob Elementary School. He focused on mental health care and school security in his public comments.

Other topics Abbott instructed management to make recommendations were school safety, mental health, social media and police training.

Phelan responded to Abbott’s call, saying in a statement that “talks on the issues outlined by Governor Abbott are already taking place in the Texas House and will continue to be a top priority in the months leading up to next school year and legislative session.” The house “will start work immediately”.

A Patrick spokesman did not immediately respond to a comment.

The commissions are different from a special legislative session that Democrats – and at least a few Republicans – called for after the shooting. Abbott did not rule this out.

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Critics of Abbott are quick to say that the time for commissions has passed. They pointed out that the Legislature has also formed special committees after the mass shootings in 2019, and these discussions did not prevent the shooting at the Uwalde school.

Abbott’s Democratic re-election candidate, Beto O’Rourke, has criticized Abbott’s insistence on legislative committees.

“Anyone can call a commission. Only a governor can convene a special session,” O’Rourke tweeted. – Do your job.

The 2019 gun violence commissions followed the massacre of Spaniards at Walmart in El Paso. Democrat Senator Cesar Blanco sent a letter to Abbott on Wednesday, saying he appreciated the call for commissions after the Uwalde shooting, but said “we have solutions ready now”. He cited nine bills he had submitted in the first session since the Walmart shooting, including a proposal to expand past checks to cover private arms sales. Although Patrick was initially interested in the idea – he even assumed he would oppose the National Arms Association to adopt it – it was a short-lived crusade and the law never received a Senate committee hearing.

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The Texas Teachers’ Association called Abbott’s announcement Wednesday “very weak.”

“The families of the victims and all Texans deserve better than that,” said Ovidia Molina, president of the association.

Disclosure: The Texas Teachers’ Association is a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization funded in part by donations from members, foundations, and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in Tribune journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

Gov. Greg Abbott is seeking legislative advice in response to the shooting of Uwalde

Source link Gov. Greg Abbott is seeking legislative advice in response to the shooting of Uwalde

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