The Texas House of Representatives convened at 10 a.m. on Tuesday after adjourning at 1:28 a.m. that same morning due to a lengthy debate over a bill seeking to ban critical race theory.
To the surprise of many onlookers, House Speaker Dade Phelan abruptly announced that his desk was clear shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday and it was his intent that the House would adjourn until 10 a.m. on Wednesday. This came after the House had only considered seven new bills they had not taken up previously on the calendar that continues to grow. Meanwhile, a self-imposed deadline of Thursday at midnight is quickly approaching, which would preclude the House from considering any additional House bills or House joint resolutions.
State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R–Royse City) objected to the motion to adjourn, which prompted the speaker to call for a division vote, or a simple tally of those in favor of adjourning and those opposed. Those in favor of adjourning prevailed.
No record was taken of those who voted in favor and those who were opposed.
Because of this Thursday deadline, the calendar list for bills that can be considered is growing increasingly long. When the House convened on Wednesday, they had almost 300 bills on the calendar, which does not include the calendar posted for Thursday. On this growing list are legislative priorities for the Republican Party of Texas, including bills related to their priorities of religious freedom, election integrity, and gender modification.
For comparison, on the same legislative day in the 2019 legislative session, the House had already convened for almost 250 total hours (60 times). This session, the House has convened 61 times, but for only about 181 hours total.
Slaton took to Facebook to say, “House District 2 sent me to Austin to work, and my constituents were very clear in their mandate: pass the Republican Party of Texas Priorities. Last night, I objected to this motion to adjourn, but unfortunately lacked the votes from my fellow colleagues to continue working.”
The House has a Republican majority of 83 members of the overall 150-member body.
After Thursday, the House will only take up Senate bills for consideration until a similar deadline on May 22.