Highlights from in and around the world of Texas politics


Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he is resolved to force a special session if a North Carolina-style law that could restrict bathroom access for transgender people doesn't prevail - but Republican Gov. Greg Abbott made clear later that he was calling the shots. "This is the right thing to do in order to protect our economy from billions of dollars in losses and more importantly to protect the safety of some very vulnerable young Texans".

After different versions of the bill passed the House and Senate earlier this year, lawmakers from each chamber hashed out a compromise version, known as a conference committee report.

"I think it's dead for the regular session between now and tomorrow", said Rep. Ron Simmons, a Republican from Carrollton in suburban Dallas who pushed a version of the bathroom bill in the Texas House.

The Senate in March passed restrictive legislation that would require people to use facilities in publicly owned building based on "biological sex" - to keep transgender Texans from using bathrooms that match their gender identity - and void local ordinances that regulate bathroom use.

The plan also called for the sales tax to increase from 6 percent to 7.25 percent, which would provide an immediate boost to the state's General Revenue Fund and would enable the Legislature to pass a budget that held the line on spending for Fiscal Year 2018.

But Rebecca L. Robertson, legal and policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said "there can be no compromise on discrimination".

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Senators on Thursday rejected House amendments to Senate Bill 2078, prompting the creation of a Senate conference committee late in the day. "They could lose their primary if they go against the bathroom bill, or against the abortion bill, or against the sanctuary city bill".

Patrick said there is still time to pass the bill, but it's running short.

With four days remaining in the 85th Legislature, lawmakers on Friday were still deadlocked over transgender bathroom use, leaving the prospect of a special session on the horizon.

The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. "They want us to stay here and get the job done", Patrick said.

Only Texas' governor can call a special session, and Jones speculated that the business community is lobbying Abbott not to do so. "The taxpayers deserve to have the Legislature finish their work on time", Abbott spokesman John Wittman said in a statement. Judith Zaffirini, arguing Sunday evening with Houston Republican Sen.