Is the Texas House Preparing to Scuttle the Special Session?

Last month, Gov. Greg Abbott told lawmakers that he would be calling them back for a special session after a number of conservative reforms failed to pass during the regular 140 day session. He announced a bold agenda of 20 items including property tax reform, privacy protections, and strong spending limits for both the state and local governments.

Since then, activists around the state have been calling on the Texas Legislature to support and pass the entire package, using the Twitter hashtag #PassThemAll. However, it appears that Speaker Joe Straus and his lieutenants are moving to thwart the governor’s agenda.

Already rumors are beginning to percolate that the Texas House is preparing to thumb their noses at both Abbott and their constituents by passing only one item on Abbott’s list of twenty issues— the Texas Medical Board sunset bill—and killing the rest by adjourning sine die.

One Republican lawmaker has already said that’s what he wants.

State Rep. Doc Anderson of Waco met in June with a number of citizens and told them he believed the Texas Legislature kill the governor’s agenda, according to one present at the meeting who reached out to Texas Scorecard.

“Despite the Governor’s call he said he thought that they could come back, pass the sunset bill, and go home,” the citizen reported.

Meanwhile House Democrats are openly flirting with the idea of leaving the state – a move they have used in the past to deny a quorum and thus prevent the Texas Legislature from being able to conduct business.

Shortly after Abbott announced he would be calling lawmakers back for a special session, State Rep. Joe Moody (D–El Paso) tweeted a picture of himself in a “Killer D’s” T-shirt, a reference to the House Democrats who fled to Oklahoma for four days at the end of the session in 2003 in order to prevent the consideration of redistricting legislation.

To kill the special session agenda without the assistance of Republicans, the Democrats would have to spend 30 days out of the state, not just four.

Now left-wing reporters, lobbyists, and Democrat activists are beginning the drumbeat for lawmakers to simply kill Gov. Abbott’s legislative package under the hashtag #SunsetAndSineDie. One of them even went so far as to have it made into a lapel pin.

That call refers to a plan for the House to pass the sunset bill – considered must-pass legislation in order to keep medical professionals licensed in Texas – and then adjourn sine die and go home, leaving all other bills on the call dead.

If a motion is made to adjourn sine die it would only require a simple majority (76 votes if all members were present). Assuming all Democrats vote for the motion, 21 Republican votes would be required for the motion to pass.

Gov. Abbott can put an end to these games, however, by making clear that he will call legislators back as many times as it takes to pass his agenda. As always, in a state with a Republican governor, a Republican senate, and a Republican House, Democrats will only be able to kill conservative reforms if Republicans assist them.

Tell the Texas Legislature: #PassThemAll

Gov. Greg Abbott has called a special session of the Texas Legislature, providing each of you a second chance to pass conservative reforms that were killed in the House during the regular session.

"If I'm going to ask taxpayers to foot the bill for a special session, I intend to make it count," Abbott said as he laid out a robust, conservative agenda for the 30-day special session.

Abbott’s list of 20 issues is almost entirely comprised of major, conservative policy goals that taxpayers have been demanding for years. Issues such as property tax reform, strong state and local spending limits, and ending the government collection of labor union dues.

Each part of Abbott’s agenda would represent a major victory for citizens, and it’s time for both chambers of the Texas Legislature to stop rationing reforms, stand up for taxpayers, and answer his call.

My message is simple: #PassThemAll!

Help spread the word for lawmakers to PASS THEM ALL!

 

Let your friends know you are calling on legislators to #PassThemAll!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cary Cheshire serves as Vice President of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, the premier project of Empower Texans. A 6th Generation Texan, Cary attended Texas A&M University was active in a number of conservative causes including Ted Cruz's Senate campaign. He has also worked on campaigns to elect conservatives to both Congress and the Texas Legislature. Cary enjoys college football, genealogy research, and the occasional craft beer.

Read All Posts