Governor Greg Abbott, center, in Uvalde after the mass murder of 21 persons, announcing action that Texas will take to address the problem of mass shootings. Others at the press conference, L to R, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Senator Ted Cruz, and House Speaker Dade Phelan. Abbott charged the leadership of the Senate and House with studying solutions that could be enacted by the State to curb future massacres.AUSTIN – In lieu of calling a special session of the legislature to deal with new regulations to curb mass shootings, as requested by several state legislators, Governor Greg Abbott today sent a joint letter to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker Dade Phelan requesting the Texas legislative leaders convene special legislative committees following last week’s tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. The special legislative committees will be charged with examining and developing legislative recommendations on school safety, mental health, social media, police training, firearm safety, and more.
“As Texans mourn the tragedy that occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde last week, we as a State must reassess the twin issues of school safety and mass violence,” reads the letter. “As leaders, we must come together at this time to provide solutions to protect all Texans. Accordingly, I hereby request that each of you convene a special legislative committee. I look forward to working with you both on this important mission to make Texas safer, and I stand ready to provide any and all support.”
AUSTIN – Today, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued the following statement announcing the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans. Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, will serve as Chair. Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe and Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, will serve as CoVice Chairs. Upon forming the committee, Lt. Gov. Patrick issued the following statement:
“In response to Gov. Abbott’s request today, as President of the Texas Senate, I am naming the following members to the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans:
Sen. Robert Nichols, RJacksonville, Chair
Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, Co-Vice Chair
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, Co-Vice Chair
Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston
Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury
Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels
Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen
Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Tyler
Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock
Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas
Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo
“Chairman Nichols is an engineer by profession, Sen. Creighton is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education and Higher Education and Sen. Kolkhorst is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. These three leaders have the experience and knowledge to lead this important committee. The committee members also represent a cross section of school districts and communities of all sizes across the state.
“Gov. Abbott has asked us to study 5 important areas:
“I have asked Chair Nichols to hold his hearing on June 23 or a date shortly thereafter. I want to give the families and the community of Uvalde time to complete all funeral services before beginning hearings so those who wish to testify may take part. I have asked Chair Nichols to coordinate with the House of Representatives Chair to hold their hearings on the same date, if possible, to accommodate both invited and public witnesses.
“Before creation of this committee, last week, I sent a letter to the Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, Mike Morath, to request an extension through the end of the next legislative session for applying for school safety grants, which were set to expire on May 31. There is still nearly $14 million in the fund that schools could still request.
“We will also be working with Attorney General Paxton’s office to ensure payments from the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund, once approved, are expedited.
“All of us working together is the answer. Now is not the time for politics. It is all about doing all we can so that we never see another tragedy like this happen again in Texas.”