National News

Sparks fly on the first day of the special legislative session in Texas

Posted July 18

— It did not take long for the sparks to begin to fly on the floor of the Texas Senate on Tuesday as legislators returned for the special legislative session called last month by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Only minutes after the opening gavel from Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Senate Democrats began balking over a procedure that Senate Republicans were using to step up the pace on the "Sunset Bill" which would allow the Texas Medical Board, among other agencies to continue operating after September 1, 2017.

Senator Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) made a motion to suspend the rules which would allow the bill to be sent directly to committee without proper public notice and allowing Texans the opportunity to speak out in either support or opposition of the bill.

Regardless of the objection, Patrick overruled them one by one and the bill was indeed sent directly to committee where it passed fairly quickly, allowing for a vote on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

State Senator Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) has been a longtime member of the body and said in her objection that the tactic used by Senate Republicans had not been used in her 30 years of service in the body.

Patrick nor Hancock would argue the point except to say that the tactic was used in the 1950's and 1960's by the body. Patrick made it clear that he would not speculate as to why they used it then, but noted firmly that they did. Senate democrats maintained that the tactic had not been used since 1939.

At one point state Senator Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) pointed out what seemed to be the obvious, that Patrick and senate Republicans were just trying to fast track the bill in order to move onto more socially controversial bills such as the "bathroom bill" that has garnered so much conversation within the state the last several months.

The senate cannot move onto other items until the sunset bill approving the Texas Medical Board and the other four agencies listed under the bill is voted on.

The Texas senate is adjourned until 1:00 pm on Wednesday.

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