Rhetoric is ramping up about the potential for overtime as the clock ticks on Texas’ legislative session. Now, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is fanning the flames.
Recently, Patrick has ramped up his criticism of the Texas House’s slow pace and failure to address conservative priorities. While the Legislature has been in session for 99 days, they have still failed to consider a single priority of the Republican Party of Texas—instead electing to take multiple five-day weekends during the first months of the session.
In an interview with Spectrum News, Patrick says the House’s failure to pass priority bills, such as school choice, could result in lawmakers being called back for a special session. And while only the governor has the power to call 30-day special sessions on issues he chooses, Patrick says he can force the issue.
“I can’t call a special session, but I can create one by not passing a key bill that has to pass,” said Patrick.
In 2017 Patrick did just that after the Texas House similarly failed to pass a number of conservative priorities. In response, Patrick did not bring up a “must-pass” bill to continue the functions of a number of state agencies, which forced Abbott to call lawmakers back in July.
Patrick says a situation like that could happen again.
“If we don’t get some major priorities that the people want us to pass because [the House] acted very slowly during the session, then I think we ought to finish the job,” said Patrick.
Neither Gov. Greg Abbott or Speaker Dade Phelan returned a request for comment on the potential for a special session.