Midnight Deadline Separates The Live, Dead And ‘Mostly-Dead’ Bills In The Texas House

By adding amendments to unrelated bills, some House members kept their pet projects alive. Other lawmakers ran out of time.

By Rhonda FanningMay 12, 2017 3:00 pm|

On Thursday, members of the Texas House faced a midnight deadline to pass any bill that originated in that chamber of the Legislature. So who and what came out as winners and losers under the pink dome?

KUT Radio’s Senior News Editor Ben Philpott says that despite the having killed school voucher legislation earlier in the session, the idea is back.

“Yesterday during a committee hearing they slipped in a small voucher program into a House bill on school finance,” Philpott says. “This is not the grand voucher program that the lieutenant governor has been calling for. It is one that would only be available to disabled children.”  

Som bills in the House still have life in them, while others reached the end of the line with no action taken.

– David’s Law: Inspired by a San Antonio teenager who committed suicide after being bullied online, the measure was passed on second reading. It is due for its final reading on Friday.

– Sunset ‘safety net’ bill: During each legislative session, state agencies come up for review by the Legislature. They face possible reorganization or dismantlement, if not found to be effective or necessary . Under current law, the Legislature can set a schedule for review of a specific agency. If the agency is not reviewed according to the schedule, or if no schedule is set, the agency ceases to exist. The safety net bill is intended to prevent this automatic process. Philpott characterizes the proposal as ‘mostly dead,” meaning that the House didn’t act on it before the Thursday deadline, but that a way could be found to revive it. Failing that, he says, the Legislature could take it up during special session, if the governor calls one that includes the issue.

– Freedom Caucus bills: The 11 House members who identify themselves as social and ideological conservatives have been disappointed that the Legislature has not passed abortion bills, open carry gun measures, and the fact that the ‘bathroom bill’ passed by the Senate did not reach the floor of the House. Philpott says Freedom Caucus members also claim that bills they sponsored were being “knocked off” the agenda by House leadership.

 

Written by Shelly Brisbin.