AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Wednesday said he would be asking Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session this June as several of his conservative priority bills missed a major deadline in the House Tuesday night.
SB 10, SB 12 and SB 29 were all on the calendar to be heard on the House floor on Tuesday, but lawmakers did not get to them before midnight, which was the deadline for all Senate bills to be read a second time and voted on, on the House floor.
That can at least partially be attributed to delay tactics from Democrats, who were determined to take up enough time so lawmakers could not vote on SB 29 specifically.
The bill would require transgender student-athletes to participate in sports that match their biological sex, rather than gender identity.
“Senate Bill 29 was a bill attacking transgender kids who simply just want to play sportS,” Carisa Lopez with the Texas Freedom Network said.
“Families really just want to be left alone and able to make the decisions that are best for them and their kids,” Lopez explained the organization was happy Tuesday night to see the bill die, but the celebration only lasted for the night, as Patrick’s announcement came Wednesday morning.
“Bills like this have a huge detrimental effect on their mental health. We know that we see huge spikes in the hotlines, calls after these bills are even talked about,” Lopez said.
The other priority bills Patrick mentioned would end taxpayer-funded lobbying, and crack down on censorship from social media companies.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation is glad to see the ban on taxpayer-funded lobbying put back into play.
“This practice actually exists in the darkness. By and large, what happens is that your cities, counties, and school districts will collect your property tax and sales tax money, and then they turn around and use that money to hire contractor lobbyists, who they then send to the Texas Capitol to argue for more taxes, higher spending and bigger budgets,” TPPF’s Director of Government for the People Campaign James Quintero explained Wednesday.
“It’s the key to everything else. So whether you want school choice, lower taxes, less government, all of this is being influenced in a negative way by this practice of using tax dollars to pay lobbyists,” Quintero said.
Gov. Abbott issued a response Wednesday, saying there’s still time left this session to work things out.
“Some are trying to end the game before the time clock has run out. There’s still time remaining for the House and Senate to work together to get important conservative legislation to my desk. Members in both chambers need to be spending every minute of every day to accomplish that mission,” Abbott said.
The last day of the legislative session is May 31.
Democratic challenger to Patrick, Mike Collier, said Patrick’s call for a special session is unacceptable.
“If Patrick were serious about his job as lieutenant governor, he would know that special sessions are a tool used to address the most pressing of issues that cannot wait. For example, addressing a global pandemic and fixing our state’s energy grid would be two perfect topics for a special session,” Collier said.