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Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Threatens to Force Special Session

Office of the Governor
Office of the Governor

Only the Governor can call a special session in Texas, but Lt. Governor Dan Patrick made it known on Wednesday that there are ways he can force a special session if the House refuses to move on the so-called Bathroom Bill and Property Tax Bill.

Patrick made clear that he expects the House to pass Senate Bill 2, a property tax bill that has received push back from some elected county and municipal officials. Patrick also wants the Bathroom Bill to be passed — either the Senate or House version.

According to the Texas Tribune, Patrick is ready to go to Governor Greg Abbott to ask for a special session:

“If we must go to a special session, I will respectfully ask the governor to add both of these bills — plus other legislation he has voiced support for — in that special session call,” Patrick said during a press conference at the Capitol. “If the bills don’t pass in the special and they’re blocked again, I will ask the governor to call us back again and again and again.”

The final day of the 85th Legislature is May 29, but other deadlines are quickly approaching. The Texas Tribune reports that Patrick controls the destiny of the “sunset safety net bill,” which must be passed during each legislative session. Otherwise, a long list of agencies would have to shut down:

Patrick on Wednesday said the Senate had less than 48 hours to pass its version of the legislation and avoid the need for a special session.

But he added that he “must see action in the House to pass several key” pieces of legislation before moving on the Senate’s sunset legislation.

In the past, both Governor Greg Abbott and Speaker Joe Straus have sought to avoid a special session. And while there is still time to avoid one this year, time may be running out.

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