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Dan Patrick threatens to force special session if bathroom bill doesn't pass

18 May 2017

Gov. Dan Patrick holds a news conference at the.

Patrick said enough representatives have signed onto the bill which forces people to use the bathrooms of the gender on their birth certificate while in schools and public places.

A separate measure by state Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton - House Bill 2899 - takes a different approach to the bathroom regulations and would gut cities' and school districts' trans-inclusive bathroom policies.

"Now my plan was going to continue this negotiation outside of the media", Patrick said.

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

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Straus said the House passed HB 21 to address rising local school taxes. "While I respect and defer to Governor Abbott's right to call a special session on any topic, I believe that such a session will not be necessary if we work together to pass two critical bills". A top priority, she said, would be to.

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. "We are working diligently around the clock to hammer those out to try to get this done".

In a special session, the governor sets an agenda with a few topics. "It's just a matter of getting everybody on the same page".

Patrick's threat came a day after House Speaker Joe Straus made public a letter to the lieutenant governor in which he wrote that the Legislature could avoid a special session if it finished its work on the budget and the passed the sunset safety net bill.

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Patrick said Straus has identified 15 bills important to the House that the Senate has yet to pass, on issues ranging from expanded mental-health programs to cybersecurity, education and pension reform. Both are in the House, where they are expected to be voted upon later this week.

As for Senate Bill 310, it's awaiting a hearing in the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce.

"I think we can get there, but timing is everything and time is starting to run out", said one senator who is familiar with the negotiations, echoing the frustration of some House leaders.

Unlike the regular legislative session, the governor determines which issues can be taken up in a special session. Though both are Republicans, Patrick is a staunch conservative while Straus is more moderate on some issues. The Legislature is constitutionally required to pass a budget bill in order to fund the state government, but the law does not require it to do so during the regular session.

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Dan Patrick threatens to force special session if bathroom bill doesn't pass