Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is clamoring for a special legislative session unless the Texas House approves legislation it was already expected to pass: a North Carolina-style "bathroom bill" and property tax cuts.
The Texas measure, called Senate Bill 6, passed the Republican-controlled Texas Senate on a party-line vote in March but has languished in the Republican-controlled House.
Patrick said enough representatives have signed onto the bill which forces people to use the bathrooms of the gender on their birth certificate while in schools and public places. Either the Senate or House version.
Only the governor can call a special session but the Senate now holds control of a "safety net" sunset bill, crucial legislation meant to save agencies up for review from shutting down.
The final day of the 85th Legislature is May 29 but other deadlines are quickly approaching.
Patrick on Wednesday said the Senate had less than 48 hours to pass its version of the legislation and avoid the need for a special session.
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But he added that he "must see action in the House to pass several key" pieces of legislation before moving on the Senate's sunset legislation. "These are not poll-tested priorities, but they can make a very real difference in Texans' lives", he said. Next Tuesday is the last day for the House to take up Senate Bills on second reading and the last day of the session, known as Sine Die, is May 29th.
"I'm optimistic that we will produce a reasonable and equitable compromise on the budget", he said.
"The House wants to finish all of our work in the regular session, and we believe that this goal is well within reach", Straus wrote in the letter. "The Senate is demanding that we provide far fewer resources for schools than the House approved and that we begin to subsidize private education - a concept that the members of the House overwhelmingly rejected in early April".
Although Patrick did not take questions after the press conference, Straus did.
All blamed a breakdown in talks between Patrick and Straus, who reportedly not spoken directly in days, for the number of unresolved issues with just 13 days to go in the legislative session.
Patrick on Wednesday said that legislation was "acceptable" to him and pressed the House to move on SB 6 or attach the language from Simmons' bill onto other legislation as an amendment. But in exchange for a vote, Patrick promised an additional $500 million in school funding and to concur with part of the House's proposal for the school accountability system that would delay implementation of a controversial grading system for schools until 2019.