By Bill O’Neil
A tough–and very pointed message from Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick to Texas House Speaker Joe Straus.
“Whether we have a special session is now in the hands of the Speaker” Patrick said during a news conference Wednesday.
Specifically, Patrick is demanding the House pass bills on property tax relief and at least a version of the controversial so-called “Bathroom Bill.” Both have already been passed by the Senate.
“By anyone’s standards, the Senate has had maybe the finest session in history… particularly modern history” Patrick said.
Ultimately, it is up to Governor Greg Abbott to decide whether or not a special session is warranted and needed after the conclusion of the regular session.
For his part, the Lieutenant Governor said he’s ready to come back to the Capitol if needed.
“If the bills don’t pass in the special–if property tax relief and privacy don’t pass in that special and they’re blocked again… I will ask the Governor to call us back again and again and again” Patrick said, insisting his push isn’t about competing with or challenging Straus.
“Governor Patrick’s threat to force a special session unless he gets everything his way is regrettable, and I hope he reconsiders” Straus said in a statement.
“The best way to end this session is to reach consensus on as many issues as we can. Nobody is going to get everything they want” Straus added.
“This is not a personal battle between the Speaker and myself. It’s not a battle between the House and the Senate–or, quite frankly even between parties because most of these bills have bi-partisan support” Patrick said.