As the regular session of the Texas Legislature heads toward its close May 29th, there is growing dischord between the two houses, and more talk of a special session, especially to deal with that very controversial measure to limit transgender public restroom use, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports
.Gov. Greg Abbott last night issued a statement declaring SB 6, the Bathroom Bill, which passed the Senate overwhelmingly, but is stalled in the House, where it is not expected to get a hearing before May 29.
"I want to avoid a special session, but I am prepared to go into one if the House does not pass SB 2, the property tax relief bill, and SB6," Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said.
SB2 is another very controversial measure, which would limit cities and counties from raising property taxes above 3% plus the rate of inflation. Local governments have strongly lobbied against it.
"The House has worked diligently to pass priorities that are important to (Patrick), House Speaker Joe Straus said. "Senate Bill 2 has been scheduled for a vote on the floor of the House on Thursday. The House has already acted on a number of issues that are important to the Lieutenant Governor and will continue to do so."
Straus said the House has already worked on several key bills, including school finance reform, but he pointed out that the 'Senate is trying to derail that at the 11th hour.'
"The Senate is demanding that we provide far fewer resources for schools than the House approved and we begin to subsidize private education," Straus said, referring to the voucher bill which has stalled in the House.
"Governor Patrick's threat to force a special session unless he gets everything his way is regrettable, and I hope that he reconsiders," Straus said. "The best way to end this session is to reach consensus on as many issues as we can."
There are also two 'must pass,' bills that will also take up a lot of lawmakers' time...the budget, and so-called 'Sunset Legislation' to allow agencies such as the Texas Department of Transportation to remain in operation.
SB 6, the Bathroom Bill, is strongly opposed by business and tourism interests, but is strongly backed by Patrick and the social conservatives who dominate the Senate.