While the leadership of the Texas House of Representatives is celebrating the 87th legislature as the “most conservative session ever,” Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who presides over the legislature’s other chamber, is signing a different tune.
The Texas legislature has strict deadlines by which legislation must be passed in order to become law. If a bill misses the deadline, it is instantly dead, even if it is on the calendar. Even though they are in the minority, Democrats understand this and engage in a practice known as “chubbing”, which is capitol slang for dragging out the process by talking endlessly so that bills they don’t like cannot make it to the floor before deadlines.
Republican leaders in the House also understand this, and if they want to kill a bill without having to formally vote on it, they can just put it far enough back on the calendar that it will almost certainly miss the deadline.
This strategy appears to have worked for opponents of several Republican Party of Texas backed bills late Tuesday night as the Texas House recessed without passing conservative priority bills such as SB 29 (prohibiting biological males from competing in girls sports), SB 10 (taxpayer funded lobbying ban), and SB 12 (regarding big tech censorship).
All the three of the bills were passed by the Senate, and Patrick blames the House for killing them. The Lt. Governor tweeted a call for Governor Abbott to convene a special session to pass them.
“Asking @GregAbbott_TX to call a June #SpecialSession today to pass #SB29 to save girls sports, #SB10 to end taxpayer funded lobbying and #SB12 to stop social media censorship. The TxHouse killed these conservative bills that majority of Texans in both parties support,” Patrick tweeted.
It is pretty much a given that legislators will have to return for a special session in the fall to deal with redistricting and spending Covid-19 relief funds. However, Patrick is asking Abbott to add legislation on girls sports, taxpayer funded lobbying, and tech censorship to the call.
Several members of the House are going against leadership and have also called for a special session, including the Texas Freedom Caucus and a handful of the lower chambers most conservative members.