Thursday night was the deadline for the Texas House to consider bills and resolutions, while the deadline for Senate bills and resolutions is May 18. With things coming to a close, Ramshaw says the legislature seems to be in pretty good shape.
“The big issues – budget, limits on property tax growth, school finance – are all through both chambers, and those are set to be hashed out in conference committee,” Ramshaw says. “There’s still a couple of things to tangle with, but the top priorities are moving pretty firmly ahead.”
The first-ever LGBTQ Caucus made headlines this week when it pulled a parliamentary maneuver that killed a religious refusal bill right before the deadline. LGBTQ advocates worried the bill would take away gay rights in Texas.
“This was a huge victory for them in a House that is slightly less conservative than it was last session,” Ramshaw says. “Clearly you can tell the 2018 midterm elections have changed the tenor of the conversation in that chamber.”
House bills are headed to the Senate, which could lead to some conflict; the Senate has been prioritizing teacher pay raises, while the House has been focused on more money for schools, on a broader scale.
“That’s where you’re going to see the Senate drawing a real line in the sand, and we should keep our eyes on that fight in conference committee,” Ramshaw says.
Ramshaw says it doesn’t look like the legislature will have a special session. And she says the only other debate that could surface in the remaining time is about the governor’s interest in raising the sales tax in order to lower property taxes.
“You can keep your eye on that to see if there’s any movement, but, again, it seems like most of the drama is past us,” Ramshaw says.
Written by Sara Schleede.