Agenda Texas: Bill Kill, Vol. 2
It all ends Monday for the 83rd Texas Legislative session.
The final round of deadlines hit the House and Senate this week. Ending debate on some bills, leaving a trail of dead campaign promises, broken legislative dreams, and a long line of disappointed advocates and lobbyists. That’s right folks...it’s time again for Bill Kill - Volume 2!
But before we get to legislative deadlines, did you happen to see what was happening in the Texas House today? As the chamber took up several uncontested and non-controversial bills, a couple of lawmakers started to pick off bills as a negotiation tactic.
"It's kind of a hostage taking thing," Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey said. "If a House member is mad at a senator, or a senator is mad at a House member, or they're trying to bargain with each other, or more importantly when the bargaining has failed, they start knocking each others' bills off the calendar."
But today's problems in the House were eclipsed by some bill killing earlier in the week by Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio.
"You know that was less a hostage taking than a straight up revenge thing," Ramsey said. "Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) decided she didn't want to move a bill on an innocence commission. McClendon really wanted that bill. Since the Senator wasn't passing it, McClendon decided to pick the Senator's bills off of the local calendar."
Now most of the bills delayed in today's House hostage event were eventually released and passed. But Ramsey said its the bill kills like the one orchestrated by Rep. McClendon that force lawmakers to negotiate when bills are taken hostage at the end of the session.
"When someone in March threatens your bill you go, 'Oh we can work this out.' When someone in the last days of May threatens your bill, you have to sit down and negotiate," Ramsey said.
Well, tomorrow is finally the day folks: We’re going to start answering the e-mails and tweets you’ve sent in about lawmakers and the legislative session.
But it's never too late to drop us a line with a comment on AGTX. Email AgendaTexas@kut.org. And find us on Twitter: @AgendaTexas.