Lt. Governor Dan Patrick calls for special session

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick released a statement on Wednesday morning urging Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special legislative session in June in order for the legislature to address several Republican priorities that died on the House floor after a midnight deadline on Tuesday.

“Asking [Abbott] to call a June [special session] today to pass [Senate Bill (SB) 29] to save girls sports, [SB 10] to end taxpayer funded lobbying and [SB 12] to stop social media censorship,” tweeted Patrick.

“The [Texas House] killed these conservative bills that majority of Texans in both parties support,” he said.

The three bills mentioned by Patrick all died after not being brought to the House floor soon enough to avoid a stalling tactic from Democrats that killed the bills when the clock struck midnight.

In February, Patrick had placed each one of the bills that died last night on his list of priority legislation for the regular session.

Out of Patrick’s priority bills that were brought to the House floor late in the session yesterday, the only one to make it through the night alive was SB 14, which aims to preempt local jurisdictions from enacting certain employment contracting requirements for businesses.

SB 29, a bill to require public school athletes to compete within their own biological sex, nearly died in the House committee earlier this session, but was resurrected when the committee chair, Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston), pushed it forward in retaliation for other Democrats killing one of his bills.

Democrats paid special attention to the legislation on Tuesday, emphasizing that it was one of — and the primary — reason for their stalling.

In the process, Patrick’s two other priority bills were also killed.

SB 12, a bill to allow Texans to challenge social media censorship, was attacked with points of order by Democrats and postponed to its ultimate demise.

SB 10, legislation that was aiming to restrict taxpayer-funded lobbying, was caught up in an intra-party fight between Reps. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) and Mayes Middleton (R-Wallisville) after being initially watered-down beyond recognition by Paddie in his committee.

The Texas legislature meets every other year for 140 days for its regular session, and can only be called at other times at the request of the governor, who also sets what is on the agenda for a special session.

A special session is expected later this year in order for the legislature to conduct redistricting, and Abbott has already said that he intends to also ask the chambers to determine how federal COVID-19 relief funds are used.

The last special session of the legislature occurred in 2017 when the conservative Texas Freedom Caucus torpedoed sunset safety net legislation in retaliation for House leadership spurning their legislation out of hand. A special session was called by Abbott to pass that bill and took the opportunity to add nearly 20 other tasks for the legislature to address — among them included the bathroom bill and abortion restrictions.

The results were mixed, but that session contributed to then-Speaker Joe Straus’ (R-San Antonio) decision not to seek re-election.