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Texas House Members Scramble To Beat A Midnight Deadline

Texas Tribune
Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia) failed to get a House vote before a midnight deadline on a bill against same-sex marriage licenses.

Republicans in the Texas House scrambled to get consideration of their bills by a midnight deadline. That’s as Democrats tried their best to run out the clock.

Sam Baker talked about this with Ross Ramsey, Executive Editor of the Texas Tribune. He explained why, for instance, a bill to prohibit use of state money to issue same-sex marriage licenses failed to make the cut.

Highlights of Ramsey’s Interview:

Why a bill to prohibit same-sex marriage licenses failed: It was way down on the calendar, the agenda for the House. They set the bills in order, and you have to go through everything in front of a bill to get to that bill. This one was back several pages, and some big, long, sometimes unimportant arguments in front of it, and by the time the bell rang at midnight, it hadn’t come up yet.

Is the issue truly dead?  That particular version of it is gone, but the authors often start looking around for other pieces of legislation that have similar subject matter and you can see entire bills loaded as amendments to other legislation. We’ve got two more weeks to go.

School finance reform bill pulled early: "(House Public Education Chair Jimmie Don) Aycock tried to get in front of a Texas Supreme Court decision and revise the school finance system. He said when he floated this idea ‘this is a low percentage shot, but I want to get the idea out there and get people talking about it’. What he did yesterday is that he got it all the way to the House floor. He said earlier in the week I don’t think there’s any appetite for this in the Senate, and when he got it to the House floor he did kind of a valedictory speech and set the bill down. Everyone assumed that would be the long debate, but when he pulled it down, it set the stage for other long debates.

Governor’s Talk of a House/Senate Tax Cut Agreement: "They’ve got a big mega-settlement working in the Legislature. They’ve got five bills on the conference table – about tax cuts, restraints of low property tax increases, border security, where are they going to prosecute state ethics cases, and open carry. All those pieces of legislation are kind of in one negotiation right now. It looks like they’re going to take three from the House and three from the Senate, shake hands and try to get a deal out of that. Abbott was trying to express confidence they’re on the right track."

For more information:

Roundup: Bills, deadlines and “chubbing” 

Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.