Texas Legislature May Be Staying Late

BOB ESCHLIMAN, Charisma News

The collective patience of more than 750 pastors in Texas has nearly run out, but they still have a champion on their side in Austin.

The legislative session ends May 29, but the House of Representatives—under the leadership of Speaker Joe Straus, who is feeling pressure from a small number of business leaders and LGBT activists—still refuses to take up either of the “bathroom bills” that have been offered this year. The Senate, led by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, passed Senate Bill 6 weeks ago.

“People elect us to come here and get the job done—not to pass a budget and go home, call it a day,” Patrick said in a press conference Wednesday. “The people elected me to be bold and move this legislation forward.”

Bold fails to adequately describe his plan. Patrick is willing to shut down the state government if Straus fails to adopt two bills he has labeled as priorities for the current session, one of which is SB 6.

Without a budget, and without a stopgap measure—called a “sunset safety net bill”—enacted, that’s exactly what will happen. Patrick made it clear he would like to avoid a special session, but said the legislature has a responsibility to the constituents who voted them into office.

“I agree with the speaker that it would be good to avoid a special session,” he said. “But I do not agree with the speaker that we can just pass the budget and a sunset bill and call it a day.”

Rev. Dave Welch, president of the Texas Pastor Council, agreed. In a statement to the press, he said:

In response to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s press conference today declaring his commitment to fulfilling promises to the people even if a special session is required, House Speaker Joe Straus complained that, “Governor Patrick’s threat to force a special session unless he gets everything his way is regrettable, and I hope that he reconsiders.”