AUSTIN (Nexstar) — U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro, D-Texas (20th District), weighed in on the special legislative session and tied it to the president’s approach to governing.
“This was a Trump inspired legislative session and special legislative session,” Castro said in a Wednesday press conference. “The governor tried to bully local governments, cities, counties, women, Hispanics, African Americans– he even tried to bully his own legislators.”
“What you’re seeing is a very ugly internal fight inside the Republican Party, and Dan Patrick, now joined by Greg Abbott, tried to cannibalize Joe Straus,” he told reporters.
Castro joined State Rep. Cesar Blanco, D-El Paso, as part of “One Texas Resistance,” outlining issues that activists and lawmakers are continuing to focus on, despite both chambers adjourning Sine Die.
“This is a completely dysfunctional system that’s not working on issues that matter to people of Texas,” Castro explained.
Blanco called the special session a “systematic failure of Republicans in representing the values of Texas.”
“If you’re not representing values of hardworking Texans we are coming after you,” he said to his colleagues across the aisle.
Bills on abortion reporting, public school finance, and maternal morbidity were among those that reached Gov. Abbott’s desk. The state’s ban on sanctuary cities was also called into question by the Workers Defense Project and others.
“Our statewide leaders and legislative majority have failed to respect the right of every Texan to live freely and raise families in healthy safe communities with safety and justice,” Texas Freedom Network president Kathy Miller said.
Meanwhile, many conservatives praised the legislature for passing a handful of the special session items but said there was more that needed to be done.
“While we are thankful that some pro-life bills got through, we definitely know the Texans were calling for the privacy bill to be at least on the floor, just for a vote,” Texas Values policy analyst Nicole Hudgens said.
“Let the voters have their say, and really let the House of Representatives, those who are supposed to represent us, that we’ve elected into office, have a say on issues that are very important to Texans,” she added.
Castro said voters, as well as political leaders, have to be engaged.
“And there a lot of Texans who have not been engaged because we’ve been 48th or 50th in voter participation,” he added. “But, I am confident that if more people are involved in the process as candidates and as voters, that the politics of the state will change itself because of that.”
Abbott has not formally indicated whether or not he would call lawmakers back for another special session.