Gov. Greg Abbott wants lawmakers to target critical race theory in a special session

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Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday he wants state lawmakers to further target critical race theory in a forthcoming special session.

Abbott said so in a new statement on his signing of House Bill 3979, which dictates how Texas teachers can talk to their students about current events and America’s history of racism. Critical race theory refers to an academic discipline that views race as a social construct, and outlawing critical race theory in public schools has become a national Republican cause.

"House Bill 3979 is a strong move to abolish critical race theory in Texas, but more must be done," Abbott said in the statement. "The issue will be added to a special session agenda."

Abbott issued the two-sentence statement when he signed HB 3979 on Tuesday, and the statement was posted on his website Wednesday.

The statement is especially notable because Abbott has been otherwise tight-lipped about what he will put on any special session calls beyond redistricting, COVID-19 recovery funding and his two priorities that died in the final hours of the regular session late last month. They include Senate Bill 7, the elections bill that House Democrats sunk by walking out of the chamber.

Some Republicans complained about HB 3979 after its House author, Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, accepted a number of amendments from Democratic colleagues.

Abbott has said there will be two special sessions — one in September or October on redistricting and the distribution of federal COVID-19 relief funds. Before that, there will be another special session on the elections legislation and his other priority, which proposes changes to the bail system in Texas.