Texas' Patrick backs special session for 'bathroom bill'
- Author: Joanne Flowers May 18, 2017,
May 18, 2017, 3:35
Patrick is pushing for Senate Bill 2 - which would decrease how much cities and counties can increase property taxes without an election - and some version of Senate Bill 6, commonly referred to as the bathroom bill. We are on a pathway where those priorities can be addressed during the regular session. Whether or not we have a special session is now up to the Speaker. Next Tuesday is the last day for the House to take up Senate Bills on second reading and the last day of the session, known as Sine Die, is May 29th. "If the bills don't pass in the special and they're blocked again, I will ask the governor to call us back again and again and again".
Despite Patrick's threats, the House already appeared likely to approve property tax cuts, and the bathroom rules can pass attached to related bills.
"Here's the bottom line", Patrick responded in a press conference.
Legislative leaders, who spoke anonymously Tuesday because of the sensitivity of negotiations, said the plan calls for the House to approve the property-tax reform bill, after which the Senate will move ahead to approve Senate Bill 310, a safety-net measure created to protect state agencies slated for so-called sunset review, if the reviews are not completed by the deadlines set in state law. "The governor is grateful that the House has set the property tax bill to be heard on the floor tomorrow, and is making progress on privacy legislation". "These are not poll-tested priorities, but they can make a very real difference in Texans' lives", he said.
He also noted that, while budget talks are "going well", they certainly aren't finished.
"I'm optimistic that we will produce a reasonable and equitable compromise on the budget", he said. The Senate first approved its version and sent it to the House.
Patrick on Wednesday said that legislation was "acceptable" to him and pressed the House to move on SB 6 or attach the language from Simmons' bill onto other legislation as an amendment.
"The voters want tax relief, bathroom protections for children in public schools, proper education funding and more", said Tinderholt, part of the House Freedom Caucus. The House made changes and approved it.
Unlike the regular legislative session, the governor determines which issues can be taken up in a special session.
Other legislation Patrick mentioned as key issues he wants lawmakers deal with include several anti-abortion bills, a bill to make tweaks to the state's voter ID law amid legal challenges and House Bill 21, meant to reform a complex school finance system and inject about $1.5 billion into public schools.