More than 1,000 gathered on the steps of the Capitol in Austin to protest the bathroom bill and other legislation being considered in the special session. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

State Rep. Eric Johnson called the special session of the Texas Legislature a “Million-dollar 30-day taxpayer-funded political commercial.”

Gov. Greg Abbott called the special session to pass legislation that keeps a number of agencies running, because those bills were killed during the regular session. He added an additional 20 items that Johnson called “a no-lose political maneuver,” because pass or not, they pander to the right-wing base.

State Rep. Mary Gonzalez called the special session a waste of time. OK, so she used additional language that I told her I wouldn’t print.

The main focus of the governor and lieutenant governor is to pass a bathroom bill. Gonzalez noted that in the regular session a bill to fund running water to homes in her district’s colonias passed and Abbott vetoed. She wondered whether bathroom bills applied to her district that doesn’t even have running water.

Outside the Capitol, more than 1,000 people gathered to protest the bathroom bill, school vouchers and other public education funding schemes, abortion restrictions and the state’s attempts to take local control away from cities and counties.

The Rev. Carmarion Anderson spoke for the transgender community.

“Trans lives do matter,” she said on the steps of the Capitol with blue, white and pink flags flying. She said the proposed bills “tokenize us and do not protect us.”

Of the afternoon protest’s cheers, those for Anderson were among the loudest from the diverse but mostly non-LGBT crowd.