Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro announced he won’t be running to replace John Cornyn in the U.S. Senate.
“If and when I run for another office, it is likely to be something that takes me back home to Texas,” Castro said.
“Well, it won’t happen in 2020, because we know he’s planning to run for reelection. Governor, who knows? Now, everybody’s looking past him, knowing where he’ll be on the ballot in 2020 and focusing on MJ Hegar, who has declared a candidacy against John Cornyn in 2020,” Rocha says.
Time is running out for this legislative session, especially for the House.
“In the coming week, on Monday, all [House] bills need to be out of committee, then Thursday basically all House bills need to be out of the House. So that’ll be a tense day getting up to that midnight deadline, and you’re seeing a lot of negotiations and chats on the floor, lawmakers making sure they have the votes to get those bills to the next stage,” Rocha says.
Tuesday is the last day House legislation can be added to the calendar. But, Rocha says even those bills that haven’t made it to the full House aren’t dead.
“Nothing is dead until sine die,” Rocha says. “If there’s enough support behind it, they can find other vehicles that are germane to whatever topic. Particularly the sales tax swap bill, [both House and Senate have] gotten out of committee a bill that would send it to voters as a constitutional amendment, and then the enabling bill that… is contingent on voter approval but they could always strip that out before the end and not need as many two-thirds support.”
One major focus for this session, school finance, is still under consideration.
“Now it’s pushed to Monday that the Senate will be taking up the school finance legislation, but still that’s enough time,” Rocha says. “By then, both priority measures, property tax and school finance, will have made it through both chambers and then each will appoint five members to go behind closed doors and hash out the differences.”
Rocha says observers should also keep an eye on what becomes of the marijuana decriminalization bill, which made a lot of headlines last week, and aims to reduce penalties for Texans caught with small amounts of the drug.
“You saw really why it’s spread bipartisan support,” Rocha says. “The author, Joe Moody, told me, ‘If you look at that voting sheet, it’s fascinating just to see how many people were in support of it.’ And before it even got passage, Dan Patrick over in the Senate said it was a no-go, a non-starter. Moody said there’s talks happening and it could find its way to passage.”