Showdown at the Capitol over bathroom bill
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 01, 2017,
Jun 01, 2017, 23:24
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick held a press conference Sunday afternoon with other members of the Texas Senate, calling out the Texas House for not completing their work during the normal session.
The Senate in March passed restrictive legislation that would require people to use facilities in publicly owned building based on "biological sex" - to keep transgender Texans from using bathrooms that match their gender identity - and void local ordinances that regulate bathroom use.
"As far as I'm concerned, it was enough".
Echoing concerns about a lack of significant change in policy, Sen.
Patrick said Friday night there are 80 co-authors for HB2899 and said Straus needs to bring that up for vote.
Conservatives also balked at a school finance overhaul despite the Texas Supreme Court previous year declaring the current state system flawed, albeit still constitutional.
Although the Republican-lead American Health Care Act passed the House of Representatives, its chances in the Senate are rather slim. The regular session of the legislature comes to an end on May 29.
A Democrat hasn't won statewide office since 1994 in Texas, the longest political losing streak in the nation, and the state so relishes small government that its Legislature only convenes every other year.
With the clock ticking on the legislative session, the House and Senate on Sunday lobbed accusations back and forth over inaction on critical legislation needed to save some state agencies from shuttering and to avoid legislative overtime.
In threatening to push for legislative overtime, Patrick had deemed bathroom and property tax legislation as must-pass bills. Declining to discuss his "private conversation" with the governor, he said only: "It's clear we need a special session".
The Texas Legislature adjourns Monday, and the defiance from the House again raises the prospects of a special session.
Straus says he's anxious if the bill passes, Texas would lose economic drivers, including sports events from coming to the Lone Star State.
On Friday, Patrick continued his threat to push for a special session and said the House at a minimum should pass HB 2899, which, he noted, 80 House members had signed on to.
The House maintains that it did get its work done on time.
A new Texas budget that continues spending $800 million on border security but puts little new money into public schools is nearing the desk of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
When asked about the Senate Republican stance that a House amendment to SB 1929 was not germane, state Rep.
The bill would also require the burial or creation of fetal remains a requirement that a federal judge has already blocked in Texas after the state health rules were changed at Abbott's behest past year.