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Fight on 2/3rds Rule Delayed in Senate

Burnstein Texas Capitol Dome April 2007 2_0.jpg
Photo by KUT News
There wasn't as much action under the Capitol Dome today, as some had expected.

The Texas Senate was expected to take up its rules for the 2011 legislative session today.  But, they did not.  In fact they gaveled in and gaveled out in 10 minutes.  

So the big battle over the Senate's 2/3rds rule will be delayed until next week.  And even then, there may not be much battle.  Some Republicans say the rule gives too much power to a minority of senators.  The rule blocks all bills from coming to the floor for debate unless 2/3rds of senators vote to bring it up.  Democrats have used the rule in recent years to block things like voter ID and other bills that fall along partisan lines.

Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) has led the charge to abolish the rule in recent years.  But in a quick interview on the Senate floor today, he sounded a bit like a man who had already lost the fight but was ready to battle another day.

In 2009 the Senate gave a special exemption to voter ID in order to get that bill to the floor for debate and passage.  Similar exemptions could be issued this year when the senate rules are debated and it only takes a simple majority to pass changes.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.