SAN ANTONIO - Gov. Greg Abbott touched on a wide-array of issues Wednesday morning when KSAT anchor Steve Spriester met with him. The men discussed the upcoming legislative session, a proposed bathroom bill, sanctuary cities and the impacts of a Trump administration.
Voted into office in 2014, Abbott is preparing to celebrate his third Christmas in the Governor’s Mansion, while also gearing up for the next legislative session set to begin on Jan. 10 and a Republican in the White House.
The governor has said he does expect a wall of some sort to be built along the Texas and Mexico border.
"We have an obligation to insure the safety and security of the people of this state and this nation by securing the border."
When things turned to the 140-day legislative session Abbott said he has a basic litmus test of sorts for what he would like to see come before his desk.
"I'm looking at everything through four different principles. One, are we advancing individual liberty and freedom? Two, are we providing more economic opportunity? Three, are we advancing educational opportunities, and four, are we keeping Texas safe and secure?" Abbott said.
Hundreds of bills have been prefiled by legislators, including some very hot topics in San Antonio and across the state. One of the most talked about pieces of legislation: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s push for a "bathroom bill."
The bill, fashioned after the one passed in North Carolina, states the people would have to use the restroom that corresponds to a person’s gender as it is listed on their birth certificate.
Republicans have said the bill is meant to keep men out of women’s restrooms and to keep them safe.
Democrats have charged that the bill would target and discriminate against transgender people. Even state business leaders are weary of the legislation, pointing to the backlash and economic loss the Tar Heel State has faced since the passage of the bill there -- including hosting NCAA basketball tournaments.
San Antonio is scheduled to host the Final Four in 2018.
Fellow Republican and San Antonian, House Speaker Joe Straus, has said the bill is not an “urgent concern” of his.
"Who wants someone of the opposite sex in your restroom?” Abbott said. “So it's an issue that needs to be looked into."
As the Texas’ former top prosecutor, Abbott issued a warning to cities.
"We are going to pass a law banning sanctuary cities,” he said.
One of the cities he chides is the capital city itself, Austin. Abbott said he expects all Texas cities to follow federal immigration laws and to respect Immigration and Custom Enforcement detainers or hold on immigrants behind bars.
Though he would not declare the Alamo City a “sanctuary city” the governor said he is OK with withholding some state funding from cities that declared themselves as such.
The governor did take a moment to reflect on the changes at the mansion. It has been nearly a decade since a man walked up to the building in the predawn hours while it was being renovated and set it on fire.
"The whole front is different, but once your house gets burned down, you increase security," Abbott said.
The person responsible for the fire remains on the loose.
Before departing Austin, the governor wanted to make one thing clear. Though the coming months will be a bit crazy and hectic, he has a laser focus on one thing.
"My key focus when I go into that session will be looking for ways that we can increase economic opportunity for them. That means jobs. I'm going to be working every single day to create more jobs in San Antonio and across the state of Texas," Abbott said.
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