AUSTIN - Lt. Dan Patrick, escalating a growing war of words between House and Senate leaders, said Wednesday the Legislature is headed to a special session unless the House passes property-tax reform and a controversial bathroom bill.
Patrick said Straus has identified 15 bills important to the House that the Senate has yet to pass, on issues ranging from expanded mental-health programs to cybersecurity, education and pension reform. Lois Kolkhorst, or similar language amended to another bill, as must-pass measures to avoid a special session.
"By passing House Bill 1774, the Senate has put Texas property owners first, ensuring they are protected from all of the bad actors, whether that's an insurer that unfairly denies and delays claims or an unscrupulous storm-chasing lawyer".
According to the Texas Tribune, Patrick is ready to go to the Governor to ask for a special session.
The Texas Senate has preliminarily approved a bill limiting liability for insurance companies sued by policyholders following storm damage, leaving the hot-button measure on the verge of heading to Gov. Greg Abbott. "If the bills don't pass in the special and they're blocked again, I will ask the governor to call us back again and again and again".
The last day of the legislative session is May 29.
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.
"Well I agree with the Speaker - it would be good to avoid a special session", Patrick said. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, said the change would "encourage candidates to work as hard as they possibly can to educate voters as much as possible".More news: Supervisor told officer to be mum after shooting
Straus said the House has worked to pass Senate priorities and noted that Senate Bill 2, which addresses property taxes, is scheduled to come up for debate Thursday in the House.
"A special session can and should be avoided", she said.
"We considered all voters", he said.
"Patrick is using this more as a bargaining position than as a fresh line in the sand", said Mark Jones, a professor of political science at Rice University in Houston.
House Bill 1729, filed by Rep.
The bill's author has said the new election thresholds are meant to give landowners a stronger mechanism to curb rising property tax bills, but the lower chamber last week stripped proposed new election requirements from the version the Senate passed. They also argued that new voter approval requirements could hamstring city budgets and were another example of the state trying to control local governments. "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".
This is a developing story from The Texas Tribune and will be updated.