Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Patrick takes some hostages

This is what passes for leadership in our state.

With deadlines looming, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Wednesday threatened to push for a special session of the Legislature to pass a bill to regulate bathroom use for transgender Texans and legislation to set new thresholds for when cities and counties must get voter approval for their tax rates.

Patrick deemed Senate Bill 2, a property tax bill from state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, and either Senate Bill 6, the “bathroom bill” from state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, or similar language amended to another bill, as must-pass measures to avoid a special session. Both bills have passed the Senate and are currently in the House.

The last day of the legislative session is May 29.

“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.”

Only the governor can call a special session, but Patrick’s key source of leverage is a measure known as the “sunset safety net bill,” which lawmakers have to pass each session to keep a long list of state agencies from shutting down. All state agencies must undergo periodic “sunset” reviews by the Legislature or be forced to shut down if reforms aren’t passed.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus managed to delay consideration of bills in the House long enough to keep it from passing its version of the “safety net” bill last week, leaving the Senate version as a critical measure.

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.

Patrick’s threat came a day after a letter from House Speaker Joe Straus to the lieutenant governor was leaked to press. Straus wrote that the Legislature could avoid a special session if it finished its work on the budget and passed the sunset safety net bill.

There’s more, so go read the rest. There’s always a certain amount of brinksmanship at the end of a legislative session as deadlines loom, but I’d take Patrick at his word. The talk we’re used to hearing at this point in a session has been by people who want to get things done and go home. Patrick has leverage and he has no qualms about using it.

All this looks bad, and it almost certainly is bad. There’s still a number of ways this can play out, but one thing is certain: The only language Dan Patrick will understand is losing elections. The business lobby has invested a ton of resources into preventing a bathroom bill from passing. Patrick has made it perfectly clear that he could not care less about what the business lobby wants. So I ask again, if Patrick gets his way as he often does, will the business lobby roll over and accept getting their asses handed to them, or will they fight back next year? Will they loudly and forcefully back opponents to Patrick and his minions in the Legislature (both chambers), or will they reveal themselves to be the political equivalent of an arthritic Chihuaha? We’ll find out, one way or another. The Chron and the Observer have more.

Related Posts:

16 Comments

  1. Paul A Kubosh says:

    Maybe Patrick wouldn’t be pushing so hard if there wasn’t so many Democrats in the City of Houston that were for the bill.

  2. Robbie Westmoreland says:

    That’s true. Dan Patrick has always been a champion of the causes favored by Democrats in the City of Houston. Truly, your perspicacious political acumen is devastating, Paulus.

  3. Flypusher says:

    So who’s the best choice to primary Patrick? At this point I can’t see a Dem beating him (although all the Trump scandals could change that political calculus), so which pragmatic GOPer(s) would be seeking my vote here?

  4. neither here nor there says:

    Robbie, I think Abbott is thinking of running for president and Patrick will run for governor, that would 2020.

  5. Jason Hochman says:

    They need to just the budget and head home. The Lege only meets every other year but wastes time on things like bathroom bills. The government simply needs to stay out of bedrooms and bathrooms. My state representative had proposed HB4260, “A Man’s Right to Know,” which is, in fact, a joke bill that ignores biological reality and is full of misguided misandry. Hopefully my representative will be replaced in 2018 as well.

  6. Erik V says:

    Mark my words: The 86th Legislature will have Governor Dan Patrick calling the shots from the mansion.

  7. Joel says:

    how is the threat to sunset state agencies a motivator for the uber-conservatives? isn’t that what they want, anyway?

  8. Paul Kubosh says:

    Robbie….that was funny. LoL

  9. Bill Daniels says:

    @Robbie:

    OK, I laughed. However, I agree with Paul’s intended thought……Patrick’s potty bill is direct blowback from the CoH HERO debacle. Had there been no HERO, I suspect Patrick would be tilting at a different windmill right now.

    @Fly: I’d also be interested in getting Patrick “primaried.”

    @Neither: You read it here first, but Trump will be the Pub nominee and eventual presidential winner in 2020. He will also win the popular vote, in addition to the EC vote.

    @Erik: Abbot isn’t going anywhere. Have no fear of a Gov. Patrick.

    @Joel: Libertarians like the Sunset Commission as well.

  10. Joel says:

    That’s what I said. Libertarians are under-conservative, they just aren’t smart enough to know it.

  11. Flypusher says:

    “@Neither: You read it here first, but Trump will be the Pub nominee and eventual presidential winner in 2020. He will also win the popular vote, in addition to the EC vote.”

    I’ll give you credit, that’s a gutsy call, given the number of unforced errors in just the past two weeks, and the dismal failure of the trickle down experiment in Kansas, and the pending report from the CBO on the new “improved” AHCA.

  12. neither here nor there says:

    Fly anyone that supports Trump is either not to bright or a traitor to this country (There may be other reasons but I can’t see them), Trump is mentally sick any rational person can ascertain that.

  13. Paul Kubosh says:

    Neither,

    That is a racist thing to say.

  14. neither here nor there says:

    There was nothing racists about the statement Paul, traitors come in all colors and nationalities, and there were Trump voters in all colors and nationalities. Certainly not being intelligent is not limited to a race or nationality.

    Trump is mentally sick (Why else all the alternate reality) or a criminal, I don’t think he is a criminal.

  15. Joel says:

    unless all trump voters are of one race and all of that race are trump voters … there is nothing racist about characterizing trump voters as anything you want. iq-ist, maybe. or evil-ist, sure. but not racist.

  16. […] Joel on Patrick takes some hostages […]

Bookmark and Share