AUSTIN - Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (R) delivered on his promise to bring 'pizza and soda pop' to Senators before their late night session overnight Thursday.
Shortly after 12:01 a.m., while a lot of people were sleeping, the Texas Senate gaveled in; taking up the business of the people of Texas in the middle of the night.
As expected, Senators took the final vote and unanimously passing legislation to keep five state agencies, including the medical board that licenses doctors, operating through 2019.
Shortly after the bills were passed, Patrick made an announcement.
"Members, the following message from the Governor. The secretary will read the message," Patrick said.
The governor's message said he was expanding the Special Session Call, which is the list of issues lawmakers can pass bills on.
That means Senators and Representatives can now work to pass things like the bathroom bill, abortion restrictions and education savings accounts.
The Senate wasted no time getting the ball rolling and assigned a slew of bills, selected by the Lieutenant Governor, to committees for consideration. And that's not all. They also voted to circumvent a long standing tradition, a rule called tagging.
"Under that rule, each Senator has the individual right to request that they be provided a notice, 48-hour notice, before a bill that's being referred to committee can be heard in committee," explained Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso). And the purpose for the rule is for that Senator to prepare for the hearing and, importantly, to give the public notice as well."
Senate Democrats tried to preserve the rule. Several of them asked, curious about the precedent suspending the rule would set, but they were overruled.
At about 1:30 in the morning, the Senate adjourned until Monday.
While the full Senate may not be coming back until Monday, the Senate Committees will work through the weekend.
At 8:00 a.m. Friday, the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services will hold a hearing on bills related to abortion, maternal mortality and do not resuscitate orders. At 9:00 a.m., the Senate State Affairs Committee will take up the bathroom bills. And at 10:00 a.m., the Senate Committee on Education will look at school finance and a tax credit scholarship program.
Numerous Committees will also meet on Saturday and Sunday. Click here to see the Senate Committee Calendar.
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