AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Legislature opened its special session Tuesday with Republicans vowing to pass a transgender "bathroom bill" and other conservative priorities in record time.
The House came into order at 10:02 a.m. in an orderly fashion, which was a departure from the last day of the regular session in May, when tensions over a new anti-"sanctuary cities" law provoked a near fight between lawmakers on the chamber floor.
The Senate suspended decades-old rules to let the session move fast.
Gov. Greg Abbott has an ambitious slate of bills that he wants passed for the 30-day extra session, which includes the "bathroom bill" and 19 other priorities.
The "bathroom bill" attracted protestors to the state Capitol, who put tapes over their mouths in silent protest.
"I'm very disturbed having watched the discrimination going on in the state. That my brothers and sisters who are in the trans community are having to face," said Mike Hendrix, of Keep Austin Proud.
Ron Avery, a Seguin resident, hopes Republicans gets the controversial bill passed.
"We ought to have two restrooms. Men, women. That's how God made us. Man and woman," Avery said.
Immigrant rights groups plan to increase protests of the Sanctuary Cities law that allows police to inquire peoples about their immigration status.
Democratic lawmakers plan to file bills in an effort to repeal the law, which goes into effect in September.
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