Madlin Mekelburg , USA Today Network Austin Bureau Published 12:30 p.m. MT July 18, 2017 | Updated 12:30 p.m. MT July 18, 2017

AUSTIN – Texas House Democrats on Tuesday vowed to use “every conceivable tool” at their disposal to fight discriminatory legislation during the special session, including the so-called bathroom bill and a ban on 'sanctuary cities.'

Members of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, the Texas Legislative Black Caucus and other House Democrats wasted no time targeting the legislation.

At a news conference on the first day of the special legislative session, they urged House Speaker Joe Straus to set a hearing for a bill to repeal the sanctuary cities law that passed in the regular session. They also urged him to refuse to consider the bathroom legislation, which was a sticking point during the regular session.

“We asked the south Texas speaker of the House…we asked him to bring SB 4 to the floor so we can repeal it,” said Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas. “He knows it’s not a good bill. His constituents know it’s not a good bill, and we expect from the San Antonio Speaker of the House, from the south Texas speaker of the House, that we can take action during the special session.

"We need to do it and we need to do it now. We need to send over to the Senate a repeal bill on SB 4.”

The sanctuary cities bill passed last session, called Senate Bill 4 or SB 4, prohibits local governments from enacting policies that prevent law enforcement officials from enforcing federal immigration laws. It would let officers ask any person they detain or arrest about their immigration status.

The law also establishes steep penalties for non-compliance, as leaders could be removed from their post or thrown in jail if they enact such policies. Cities could be fined up to $25,000 a day for each violation.

Lawmakers at the press conference called the bill discriminatory and said it has already hurt the state’s reputation.

“Why is Texas taking the lead on anti-immigrant bills, already knowing that history will repeat itself?” said Rep. Ramon Romero, D-Fort Worth, referencing other states that have enacted similar legislation. “People will leave.”

Special session rules only allow lawmakers to take up items identified by Gov. Greg Abbott as priorities. Currently, the only issue on the agenda is a bill to extend the lifespan of several state agencies that are scheduled to close their doors in September without action from the Legislation.

Once lawmakers pass the Sunset bill, Abbott will add 19 other items to their to-do list, including a bill to regulate which Texans can use which bathrooms.

Members of the Texas Business Association and the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau joined Democrats at the press conference to speak against the proposed bathroom bill and in favor of repealing the sanctuary cities legislation.

Phillip Jones, CEO of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the sanctuary cities law and the passage of the bathroom bill will result in a $1.4 billion loss in bookings across the state.