Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has sent a message to the House of Representatives Wednesday that if two of his priority bills don't pass, he will do all he can to force a special session.
Patrick is pushing for Senate Bill 2 -- which would decrease how much cities and counties can increase property taxes without an election -- and some version of Senate Bill 6, commonly referred to as the bathroom bill. The House is currently working to get those bills passed.
"Now my plan was going to continue this negotiation outside of the media," Patrick said. "But that has now changed because of the letter -- the private letter -- the Speaker sent to me that he released to all of you."
Written on official State of Texas letterhead, Speaker Joe Straus asked the lieutenant governor to avoid a special session by passing the budget -- which is the only bill the legislature has to pass --- and a sunset bill to keep state agencies functioning.
"Well I agree with the Speaker -- it would be good to avoid a special session," Patrick said. "But I do not agree that we can just pass the budget and a sunset bill and call it a day."
Because Patrick wants two bills passed: SB 2 and SB 6.
Patrick said he won't stop until they're law.
Although Patrick did not take questions after the press conference, Straus did.
"My experience in the House is that the House doesn't take to threats terribly well," Straus said.
He added the House is already working on SB 2 and that no chamber of the legislature is greater than the other.
"We don't do anything one chamber or the other," Straus said. "We either agree to do something or we don't do it. And so I'm still on the path of trying to work together, being respectful of one another, not threatening each other."
Ultimately, it's Gov. Greg Abbott who has the authority to call a special session.
"The Governor made clear yesterday that property tax reform and maintaining privacy in restrooms and locker rooms are legislative priorities that must be passed, and he believes both items can be achieved before the end of the regular session," Abbott's press secretary told KVUE.