Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is clamoring for a special legislative session unless the Texas House approves two bills it was already expected to pass, a North Carolina-style "bathroom bill" and a separate measure cutting property taxes.
"The House is taking action on a number of bills you have prioritized, including pro-life legislation and property-tax reforms, and will continue to do so in the next two weeks", Straus wrote.
Republican House Speaker Joe Straus, whose San Antonio district stands to lose its right to host next year's NCAA Final Four men's basketball championship if SB 6 becomes law, has shown little support for the bill, saying it could damage the state's reputation and economy. Lois Kolkhorst, or similar language amended to another bill, as must-pass measures to avoid a special session. Both bills have passed the Senate and are now in the House.
Patrick said enough representatives have signed onto the bill which forces people to use the bathrooms of the gender on their birth certificate while in schools and public places. According to the Texas Tribune, Patrick is ready to go to the Governor to ask for a special session. All state agencies must undergo periodic "sunset" reviews by the Legislature.
Straus sent Patrick a letter that said he believes the Legislature can finish on time if lawmakers pass a budget and measure extending the life of state agencies. "Nobody is going to get everything they want".
Unlike the regular legislative session, the governor determines which issues can be taken up in a special session. But in exchange for a vote, Patrick promised an additional $500 million in school funding and to concur with part of the House's proposal for the school accountability system that would delay implementation of a controversial grading system for schools until 2019.
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Although Patrick did not take questions after the press conference, Straus did. House and Senate members differ about using Rainy Day or transportation funds to help balance the budget.
Straus said he was encouraged, though, by Patrick's promise to start passing bills that are House priorities. "The people of Texas deserve better".
"A special session can and should be avoided", she said.
The so-called "bathroom bill" is similar to one enacted previous year in North Carolina.
The debate over the property tax bill has been contentious, particularly in the House, where local leaders pushed back against efforts to limit how much property tax revenues cities and counties can collect without voter approval. "It was a shameful outburst and comments from an elected official against other elected officials, we just can't tolerate that".