AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Midnight is the deadline for bills to get a second reading in the Texas House. In other words, if any pieces of legislation aren’t brought forward out of committee by then, they’re not moving to the next step in the legislative process.
Some lawmakers feel positive about the time that’s left and the progress that’s been made so far.
“I think this session has been great for public education,” Rep. James Talarico, D-Round Rock, said. “That’s because of the leadership of our Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen who has really put a priority on passing a comprehensive, transformative school finance package, which we’ve done.”
Talarico, a former educator and freshman lawmaker, prioritized public education issues when he came to the Capitol. He noted several of his key bills, one of which was passed on the House floor Thursday.
“There’s one on suspensions and making sure that kids who are suspended get all the coursework they missed in class,” he said. “The second [one] is on creating a civics curriculum and making sure students learn how to take ownership of the democratic process and the last one that we [heard] right before the deadline is cybersecurity for school districts to make sure our student’s private information doesn’t get into the wrong hands.”
Lawmakers have had late evenings throughout this entire week.
“I think it’s kind of typical, like every session,” Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, said.
Flynn, who is serving his ninth term in the Texas House of Representatives, is chair of the Defense and Veterans’ Affairs Committee and also worked on pension issues as a member of the Pensions, Investments and Financial Services Committee.”
“Last session, it was about $66 billion dollars of unfunded liabilities in six major cities that had major pension problems,” he noted.
Though Flynn feels confident about the status of a few pension-related bills, he said he wished other priorities of his moved through the process in a timelier fashion.
“There’s a couple of pro-life and pro-second amendment issues that I have that I haven’t seen move forward as quickly as I would like,” he said. “They’re still in the process.”
However, bills that don’t get a second reading could live on as amendments in other bills that could make good companions. Legislators expect this to be a part of the process.
“The process is designed to kill bills,” Talarico said. “It’s designed to slow things down and to make sure we’re being deliberative about the policies and the laws that we pass in this building.”
“Yogi Berra always said it ain’t over till it’s over,” Flynn said. “So we’ll continue to look forward.”