The Texas Senate is fast tracking sunset legislation, paving the way for Governor Greg Abbott to add 19 items to the Special Session Call.
Wednesday afternoon Senators voted unanimously to preliminarily pass Senate Bill 20 (SB20) and Senate Bill 60 (SB60). SB20 will keep a handful of Texas Agencies, including the medical board, operating through 2019. Otherwise they will cease to exist on Sept. 1.
SB60 allows those agencies to receive the money in the budget that's allotted to them.
"Members, the importance of this bill is in start belief. Nearly 200,000 Texas jobs are directly effected by these licensing agencies. These jobs serve at the core of the health care industry which represents approximately 12-percent of our state's economy," said the bill's author, Senator Van Taylor (R-Plano), before the vote.
After the vote, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (R) made a strategic play to move the Governor's agenda forward more quickly.
The bills only preliminarily passed and Patrick knew he didn't have enough votes to suspend the rules and take the final vote Wednesday. That's because five Democrats would have to vote to suspend the rules and most Democrats oppose some of the controversial issues on the Governor's call. So, the senators adjourned but will be back the same night.
"We will return at one minute after midnight, that's tonight, to take up a third reading of our sunset bill and other business," Patrick said. "Any objection? Hearing none, I'll bring the pizza and the soda pop. Thank you, members."
Governor Greg Abbott (R) told KVUE News once the sunset bill passes on third reading, he will almost immediately issue he second Special Call which includes 19 items.
Before the Senators adjourned, some of them announced they plan to hold public hearings on bills related to bathrooms, school finance and education savings accounts this Friday.
On the other side of the Capitol, the House Committee on State Affairs approved the House version of the sunset bill to keep the agencies operating. Action that sends the bill to the full House for a vote.