After passing a conservative budget in which they forced the state to live within its means and kept their hands out of the Rainy Day Fund, the Texas Senate is nearing completion on passing all of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s robust reform agenda—allowing him to take a bit of a victory lap on Twitter this weekend.
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) April 7, 2017
As can be seen in Patrick’s tweet, the Texas Senate has been pretty busy. Of the 30 bills he identified as priorities, the Texas Senate has passed 29. The lone remaining priority is Senate Bill 10 by State Sen. Kelly Hancock (R–North Richland Hills), a hailstorm lawsuit reform bill that Patrick says he has the votes to pass but is waiting on the House to pass its version.
In terms of productivity the Senate has far exceeded the House, passing almost five times as many bills as the lower chamber. At the time of this publication the Senate has passed 202 bills, with the House only passing 46.
And the bills that have passed haven’t been small potatoes.
In addition to Patrick’s priorities, the Texas Senate has also already passed all of Gov. Greg Abbott’s “emergency priorities,” including legislation to ban sanctuary cities, reform ethics laws for elected officials, call for a Convention of States, and address major problems with Child Protective Services.
Of those, the Democrat coalition in the Texas House has passed only part of CPS reform and is making clear that they intend to dilute, delay, or destroy the rest of them.
State Affairs Chairman Byron Cook (R–Corsicana), House Speaker Joe Straus’ hatchet-man, has already made clear his intention to gut the Senate’s sanctuary cities legislation and render it worthless. The ethics reform package passed unanimously by the Texas Senate has been collecting dust on the Speaker’s desk for two months without a referral to committee. Likewise, legislation calling for a Convention of States has suffered a similar fate thus far.
The sad reality is that while Patrick and the Texas Senate have been passing conservative reforms, Straus and the House have been taking hostages in the hopes of horse-trading them away for license to raid the Rainy Day Fund.
Citizens should demand that the Texas House release its hostages and get to work on the conservative reforms before the closing days of the legislative session – where bills often suffer death by deadline.