Special Session 4: The Voucher Fight Continues

Image reads: News from the special 88th legislative session

Since last week, a tremendous amount has happened in the Legislature — but also very little. In the final days of the third special session, the Texas House and Senate failed to pass border security and voucher legislation. 

In a desperate last-minute bid to push the passage of vouchers, Gov. Greg Abbott went back on his word and expanded the call late last week to include school funding and teacher raises (among other items necessary to entice the House to even consider a deal on vouchers), even though voucher legislation had not been sent to his desk.

Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick suggested there was enough time left in the remaining days of the third special session to pass legislation addressing the governor’s priorities, but after several days of inaction and finger-pointing, the third special session quietly ended Tuesday, Nov. 7, amid mounting frustration between the two chambers. 

Killing vouchers yet again in the third special session represents a huge victory for public education supporters. Due to the unrelenting advocacy of thousands of Texas AFT members making phone calls, sending letters, and visiting their representatives at the Capitol, a bipartisan majority of members of the Texas House continues to stand firm against a private school vouchers scheme. But the fight is not over yet.

Abbott quickly issued a proclamation calling a fourth special session on the same issues. The fourth special session began Tuesday, Nov. 7 at 5 p.m. — just one hour after the third special session ended, — and Chairman Brad Buckley immediately filed a new version of HB 1, his omnibus school funding and voucher bill. That bill is receiving a public hearing today (Thursday, Nov. 9). There is also a hearing scheduled for Friday in the House Select Committee on Educational Opportunity & Enrichment to take up legislation related to school safety.

The Texas Senate is also expected to meet on Thursday, Nov. 9 to take up SB 1 through SB 4 and pass identical versions of the legislation previously passed out of the chamber in the third special session.

Take Action Against Vouchers

Submit Public Comments on HB 1

You can make your voice heard by submitting electronic public comments in the House portal before the end of the committee hearing.

Screenshot of H-B 1 listed in the House comments online portal.

Join Texas AFT’s Emergency Briefing

We are hosting an emergency legislative advocacy meeting today (Thursday) at 6 p.m. CT on ZOOM. After receiving a legislative update on everything happening, we’re going to take action together during the meeting by writing comments into the portal and calling our legislators.

Call Your Representative

Lawmakers are under intense pressure from big-money voucher lobbyists and the governor. They need to hear from their constituents early and often. Click to call.

Send a Letter to Committee Members

We need to make sure every member of the House Select Committee understands that no deal on vouchers is acceptable. Take 2 minutes to send them each an email.