Key Texas abortion vote expected as Legislature schedules Saturday sessions

2017-08-12 | Houston Chronicle

Aug. 12--AUSTIN -- The Texas Legislature labors into the 26th day of the 30-day special session on Saturday with more than three-quarters of Gov. Greg Abbott's priority items still unresolved.

Lawmakers have sent Abbott just three of the 20 items he demanded they pass during the special session. The session is set to end on Wednesday.

During a rare Saturday session, the Senate is expected to meet at 5 p.m. to take up legislation on property tax reform and school finance reform.

Also on tap: insurance coverage for abortion.

The Texas House earlier this week passed House Bill 214, which bars abortion coverage on the health exchanges and private insurance. The Texas Senate passed identical legislation weeks earlier. Now it is essentially one vote in the full Senate from heading to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature, and that's likely to happen Saturday evening.

The House, meanwhile, goes into session at 3 p.m. to take up similar property tax reforms and a bill to clarify the state's do-not-resuscitate orders at medical facilities -- a bill that has already passed the Senate once.

The House also expects to give final approval to a bill granting voters in highly populated counties power to reject a city's effort to annex their community.

So far, Abbott has signed three of four bills the Legislature has passed into law, with a fourth one expected to be signed on Saturday.

He has signed two bills that assure the Texas Medical Commission and four other state agencies continue to operate and a bill increasing penalties for mail-in ballot fraud.

On Saturday he is expected to sign a bill increasing reporting requirements for abortion facilities.

Check back for updates throughout the day on Saturday and follow Houston Chronicle reporters @jeremyswallace and @andreazelinski on Twitter for updates.