Prepping For A Pandemic Lege; How Texas Republicans May Adjust To Loss Of Senate Supermajority

This week in Texas politics with The Texas Tribune.

By Alexandra HartDecember 4, 2020 3:36 pm,

It’s time for the week that was in Texas Politics with Alex Samuels, political reporter for The Texas Tribune.

Rules Outlined For Pandemic Legislative Session

We’re weeks out from the start of Texas’ 2021 legislative session. But things will look a bit different this time. New health and safety measures are being proposed to limit the spread of the virus when lawmakers meet in Austin.

“Earlier this week, state Rep. Charlie Geren, who chairs the state House committee that handles administrative operations, laid out how a session might operate amid the pandemic,” Samuels said. “So he said that the House was looking at remote voting options, that masks may be required in all public parts of the Capitol and that a limit could be placed on the number of people allowed in the building.”

Will Dan Patrick Push A Senate Procedural Change?

Now that Republicans have lost their supermajority in the Texas Senate, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick may try to have a rule changed lowering the threshold to bring bills to the senate floor. But it remains to be seen if he’ll actually go through with it.

“Right now, the Senate rules require 19 members or three-fifths of the body’s vote to bring legislation to the floor. But with the reelection loss of Republican Sen. Pete Flores this November, Republicans are set to begin this session with 18 members,” Samuels said. “Several months ago, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick … made headlines by suggesting that if Republicans lost their supermajority, he would further lower the threshold that is required to bring legislation to the floor.”

Two Texas Congressmen Take Losses On Committee Runs

House Republican Michael Burgess and Democrat Joaquin Castro had been running for two key positions on House committees. But their hopes were dashed this week.

“The two members spent much of the last year pursuing colleagues who support their bids as their party’s top representatives for a pair of high-profile committees. Unfortunately, both Texans ultimately lost their bids. Burgess conceded earlier this week to be the Republican leader on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. And Castro came up short Thursday in his bid to become chairman of the Foreign House Foreign Affairs Committee.”

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