With talk of a potential special session in the Texas Legislature heating up, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says he’s not scheduling any vacation plans this summer.
In an interview with Texas Scorecard, Patrick described how the Senate was able to pass all 30 of his legislative priorities with more than a month left to go in the session. Check out the full interview with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, including extended discussion about the Senate’s property tax plan and school choice legislation, here.
“When I came into the Texas Senate, there was a rule called the blocker bill. It required 21 of 31 senators (two thirds) to bring a bill to the floor. We never had more than 20 Republicans. So when I was a senator, every time you wanted a bill to pass that was a conservative partisan bill, you had to get permission from the Democrats,” said Patrick.
The Senate has since changed that rule, only requiring 18 of the chamber’s 31 senators to pass a bill.
“A lot of our priorities do pass with Democrat votes. But when it comes down to key conservative issues, many cultural issues, pro life, Second Amendment, gender modification, etc, they do pass them on party line votes,” said Patrick. “The point is we pass them all because the rules are set to favor the majority. And that’s the way it should be.”
In addition to differences in rules, Patrick also pointed towards the House’s delay in starting to hear legislation as one reason the other chamber is behind in passing priorities.
“They did not work as many days early in session as the Senate. They weren’t passing bills early,” said Patrick.
“Most of our bills have been over there some for almost a month. And I don’t know why they started on a slow pace, but they just did,” he added.
With a month left in the legislative session, Patrick says he has continued to warn House members against passing a flurry of bills in the session’s final days.
“Look, if [the House] sends us 1,200 bills in the last three weeks, we just can’t get to them. I mean, there are only so many committee meetings that you can have,” said Patrick.
Patrick also blamed the structure of the House in contributing to delays in the other chamber.
“The lieutenant governor is a one man calendars committee. So if there’s a bill that gets out of committee that I’m not in favor of, or I don’t think it’s a good bill, I have the right to hold it. And then because our committee chairs do a really good job of screening bills, we don’t get many of those that are bad bills that coming out of committee. But once they get out of committee, they come right to me so we can move pretty quickly. In the House, once a bill gets out of committee, it goes to the Calendars Committee, and it can sit in Calendars forever.”
“Now, if the Speaker really wants to move it… they can make it fly as well,” he added.
In recent weeks, Patrick has teased the idea that he could force a special session if some priorities—like property tax relief and school choice—don’t pass. In our interview, Patrick left continued to leave the door open for legislative overtime.
“I never ever make plans for the summer after session,” said Patrick. “We had a special in . Of course, the Democrats walked out in  and we were there through October. There’s nothing wrong with a special session, people elected us to work and get the job done. And it is tough.”
Check out the full interview with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, including extended discussion about the Senate’s property tax plan and school choice legislation, here.