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The staffers are coming! Texas Lege staffers turn to Twitter after special session announcement, defunding


Texas Legislature staff members have taken to social media to raise awareness—and also just air their misfortunes—following the summer special session announcement and their own defunding.

In a game-seven-type move by Texas Democrats, the 87th Texas Legislative session was capped off by a last-minute walkout to avoid a final vote on a bill that would add restrictions to voting.

Needless to say, Gov. Greg Abbott—who cheerleaded the bill throughout the legislative session—was not thrilled.

Not up to date on your Texas Lege drama? Abbott was pointing to when former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis staged a dramatic hours-long filibuster over a 2013 abortion bill, which the public gallery aided. The "story" Abbott is referring to ended with him and other prominent conservatives sweeping the 2014 statewide election and the bill passing in a special session.

According to Abbott, the regular session centered around supporting "hardworking Texans and building a state that is safer, freer, healthier, and more prosperous."

However, the two items deemed at the top of Abbott's wish list for this session—election integrity and bail reform—did not reach his desk at the end of the session, both championed by Abbott to be "must-pass emergency items."

"It is deeply disappointing and concerning for Texans that neither reached my desk," Abbott said in a statement. "Ensuring the integrity of our elections and reforming a broken bail system remain emergencies in Texas, which is why these items, along with other priority items, will be added to the special session agenda."

Abbott said he expected lawmakers to work out their differences prior to the special session and continue to pass other emergency items and priority legislation.

So, everything is cool, right? No worries?


Hours before the no vote, as the clock ran out on the bill that he championed, Abbott tweeted that he would veto funding for the entire state legislative branch. The decision would impact not only Texas lawmakers but their staff and aides. "No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities," Abbott tweeted May 31.

With pay, health insurance and other support for staffers on the line, the threats became a reality on June 18 with an official veto of the funds from Abbott.

The veto effectively nixes all funding for the legislative branch.

"Texans don't run from a legislative fight and we don't walk away from an unfinished business," Abbott wrote in the veto. "Funding should not be provided for those who quit their job early, leaving their state with unfinished business and exposing taxpayers to higher costs for an additional legislative session."

However, questions have been brought up over the constitutionality of the veto itself. Section 24 of the Texas Constitution makes not paying members of the legislature illegal.

The special session is set to begin July 8. So, what does this mean for lawmakers, staffers and aides?

No pay, no insurance... and Twitter followers?

The staffers took their final stand on Twitter where they aired their grievances with the situation and asked for followers to increase their footprint.

Meet Jen Ramos, a staff member for Texas State Senator Judith Zaffarini—and also defunded by Abbott.

And she's not alone. Use the hashtag #txlege and you'll find other similar messages online, like Camille's and Hector's and more.

It's unclear whether Abbott and other prominent Republican lawmakers will come together with Democrats to overturn the veto and continue providing insurance and regular pay for lawmakers, staffers and aides.


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