Agenda Texas: Deadline Week in the Texas House
It’s so close folks: There's just three weeks until the 83rd session of the Texas Legislature comes to an end.
But for many lawmakers, this week is the real end of all the work to turn campaign promises into legislation. Because for most bills that originated in the Texas House, it’s pass or pass away Thursday night at midnight.
Burt Thursday isn't the first deadline of the week.
"At midnight tonight, the committees have to get House bills and constitutional amendments that started in the House out of committee," Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey says. "Tomorrow night, the Calendars committee – which sets the agenda for the House – has to set its last calendar with House bills."
If a bill falters on any of those deadlines, that could be its last chance for the session – although there are a couple more chances in the coming days to resurrect legislation.
"You start hearing this weird phrase, 'I'm looking for a vehicle.' That means they're looking for a Senate bill or something else that is further along in the process and still alive," Ramsey says.
And if Gov. Rick Perry, Speaker Joe Straus or Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst back your bill, that can help keep legislation alive. If all three support it, like the plan to spend $2 billion on water infrastructure projects, then the bill is never really dead until the final day of the session.
With only about 20 percent of bills filed ever reaching the governor’s desk, thousands of campaign promises won’t be kept this session. What are your priorities as Thursday’s House deadline approaches? Let us know at AgendaTexas@kut.org, or drop us a line on Twitter: @AgendaTexas.