Patrick threatens special session over bathroom bill, tax reform


Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said he's ready to take the Legislature to a special session over the "bathroom bill" and property tax relief.

"We are in the process of identifying the priorities of what must be passed, the priorities of the House, the Senate and the governor", Abbott said. He also criticized Patrick for holding up a House measure to reform public school finance, which Straus said would go a long way to rein in rising property tax bills.

Texas Tribune reports: "Patrick deemed Senate Bill 2, a property tax bill from state Sen".

The final day of the 85th Legislature is May 29 but other deadlines are quickly approaching.

Responding to a Monday letter from House Speaker Joe Straus that suggested that just the state budget and a government-organization procedures bill were the key bills that should pass to avoid a special session, Patrick said the other two bills are must-pass measures for the Senate.

"If we must go to a special session, I will respectfully ask the governor to add these two issues to the call", Patrick said during a press conference at the Capitol. "These are not poll-tested priorities, but they can make a very real difference in Texans' lives", he said.

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"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.

Straus said he was encouraged, though, by Patrick's promise to start passing bills that are House priorities. "I am grateful that the Senate will work with us to address them".

He said the Texas Senate has passed each one of his priorities but leadership in the House has held up action.

"The House wants to finish all of our work in the regular session, and we believe that this goal is well within reach", wrote Straus, a San Antonio Republican. "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".

The bathroom legislation has stalled in the House. But in exchange for a vote, Patrick promised an additional $500 million in school funding and to concur with part of the House's proposal for the school accountability system that would delay implementation of a controversial grading system for schools until 2019. "He has a purposely stalled these issues all session".

He added the House is already working on SB 2 and that no chamber of the legislature is greater than the other.