Key budget bill fails to pass the Texas House
Posted on June 28, 2011 at 6:42 PM
Updated Wednesday, Jun 29 at 9:13 AM
There was a bombshell vote in the Texas House Tuesday evening as a key budget bill failed to pass. House members voted on Senate Bill 1, which is essential to balancing the state's budget. The measure failed, 64 to 71. This is the one bill that has to pass, or lawmakers will be back for a second special session.
In the meantime, State senators adjourned Tuesday afternoon. They declared “sine die” and are saying "so long" to this special session.
After the regular session, a filibuster and numerous protests, it took just minutes Tuesday for Senators to pass SB1. It provides billions of dollars in revenue for the state's upcoming two-year budget, and cuts $4 billion in state aid from Texas school districts.
“I think the education bill still isn't what it ought to be, but it's not quite as bad,” said Senator Rodney Ellis of Houston. “At least there's a sunset provision in it that will force us to go back and look at whether or not we're adequately funding our schools.”
The Senate also debated and passed a bill overhauling the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, which deals with hurricane coverage.
Now that senators are done, some are pointing fingers at the House, saying there is no excuse those lawmakers can not get certain legislation passed before time runs out.
“The citizens of Texas want sanctuary cites and they want TSA. The fate of these bills -- it's in the House,” said Senator Dan Patrick of Houston.
With time rapidly running out, it looks like the so-called "sanctuary city" bill is dead. It may never make it to the House floor.
The House did pass a TSA "anti-groping" resolution.
Now lawmakers are working feverishly to replace the House version of the anti-groping bill with the Senate's version, and bring that to the floor for a vote. Both bills would make it a misdemeanor for TSA agents to touch a person's private parts during a security search.
“The only excuse when you have a bill for two weeks is you didn't want to pass it,” said Patrick. “I'd like for anyone there to give an answer why we haven't passed the bill.”
House members say it may take time, but they're doing their job and trying to make sure their decisions best serve their constituents.
“Yes we get mad at each other. We spend long hours, but we all volunteered for this job, and we all hope to get something done for the state of Texas,” State Rep. Robert Eissler said. “Be careful what you wish for and be careful what you criticize.”