Texas Legislature Enters Session’s Final ‘Hell Week.’

The 2019 session ends on Memorial Day, so lawmakers are scrambling to get their bills over the finish line.

May 20, 2019 2:20 pm, ,

The final week of the Texas Legislature is not unlike the last Hell Week of a tough college semester. While there’s no cramming for finals, there’s a high failure rate – for bills, that is – at the end of a Texas legislative session.

Overall, most bills introduced during the Texas legislative session never make it to law. On average only about one in five bills – one in 4 in a good year, make it to the governor’s office, reports Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune’s executive editor.

As of Friday, only 5% of the 7,324 bills introduced these past 20 weeks were on their way to the governor’s office. That number will likely rise into double percentage digits before the session ends on Memorial Day, Ramsey says.

But to do that means a lot of fast and furious work by lawmakers this week.

For the most part this session, legislators avoided becoming preoccupied with social issue-related bills, as they did during the last session. In 2017, a proposal to keep transgender Texans from using bathrooms that aligned with their gender identity appeared to hijack the entire session, and it eventually failed.

Two years later, Ramsey says lawmakers are focused instead on two big issues that resonate with a majority of voters: school finance and property tax relief.

The school finance bill includes much-anticipated raises for teachers. The property tax reforms would require cities to ask voters for permission to raise budgets more than a certain amount.

“If they get those things, that’s what this session will be remembered for,” Ramsey says. “If they don’t that’s what this session will be remembered for.”


Written by Terri Langford.