Texas' Patrick backs special session for 'bathroom bill'

Alvin Kelly
May 19, 2017

"The Texas Senate has sent a strong message to storm-chasing lawyers who exploit our legal system for their own gain - Texas will not turn a blind eye to any type of lawsuit abuse in our state", TLR Communications Director Lucy Nashed said. Both bills have passed the Senate and are now in the House. It's widely reported that the legislation, authored by state Sen.

"Leadership in the Texas House has taken a different approach on big-agenda issues, holding them until down to these last few weeks".

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.

In the letter, Straus asked Patrick to promise to work together to ensure passage of a two-year state budget and a sunset "safety net" bill that would allow various state agencies and boards to continue operating. But the budget and sunset bills give Patrick leverage to force the governor's hand. But he only explicitly mentioned the property tax legislation. Whether or not we have a special session is now up to the Speaker.

Patrick also wants the Bathroom Bill to be passed.

The Senate already passed property tax cuts and rules on transgender Texans' public restroom use.

Lawmakers adjourn for the summer on May 29.

In response to Abbott's support of a "bathroom bill", Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, took to Twitter to lambaste the governor, calling his prioritization of such a measure "shameful".

"If you are Hispanic, or frankly anybody from any other country, you are not going to be stopped and required to show your papers unless you are suspected of having committed some serious crime", he said.

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The Texas Senate has just approved a bill lowering the fee of the license to carry a gun application. It did not advance out of a House committee ahead of a crucial deadline.

The 5G network could provide better cellphone coverage for attendees at events like Texas-OU or the Austin City Limits Music Festival, said Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, the sponsor of the bill in the House.

Straus later issued a statement that failed to mention the bathroom legislation at all.

The session is scheduled to wrap up May 29th.

City leaders, county officials and first responders have argued for months that even with lower election thresholds, Texans would not see meaningful drops in their individual tax bills. That provision is already stoking fear in Hispanic and immigrant communities, according to Democrats and immigrant-rights groups who say the wording is so broad that stops over broken taillights or speeding could lead to deportation. 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.

"Here's the bottom line", Patrick responded in a press conference.

House members have until 11:59 p.m. Friday to make a decision.

This is a developing story from The Texas Tribune and will be updated.

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