After a one-day delay, the Texas House moved to recommit Senate Bill 2, the property tax reform bill, to the House Ways and Means Committee. The move will further delay consideration of the bill, which Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has demanded be passed intact if the Senate is going to send over a must-pass sunset safety net bill before the end of the regular session.

Sources in the Capitol say the delay makes a special session nearly a certainty.

SB 2 had been delayed after several points of order against the bill were raised by Democrats. Members of the Texas Freedom Caucus, including State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R–Bedford) and State Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R–Irving) claimed the point of order was placed into the bill and given to the Democrats by House Speaker Joe Straus and his lieutenants as a tool to disrupt progress on it while blaming the Democrats.

Straus, notably, refused to actually rule on the point of order. Instead, he pulled a page from his playbook from last session that he used the to kill a pro-life measure. Ways and Means Chairman Dennis Bonnen (R–Angleton) moved to recommit SB 2 to his committee before Straus could rule on the point of order. In doing so, they denied Republican members an opportunity to appeal the ruling on the point of order and keep progress on the bill on track.

Though SB 2 was quickly voted out of the House Ways and Means Committee in a formal meeting, it now faces calendar deadlines that may push it to Tuesday before it can be considered. These deadlines and related rules suspension votes may be used again to create political theater in which Democrat votes are allegedly needed in order to pass the bill. That play was used last session to kill a bill designed to end automatic deduction of union dues by local governments.

Tony McDonald

Tony McDonald serves as General Counsel to Texas Scorecard. A licensed and practicing attorney, Tony specializes in the areas of civil litigation, legislative lawyering, and non-profit regulatory compliance. Tony resides in Austin with his wife and daughter and attends St. Paul Lutheran Church.