Texas Lawmakers race the clock to beat midnight deadline

With a midnight deadline looming, State House members were in a race with the clock Thursday trying to work through a long list of pending bills.

The first major bill of the day to die on the House floor was school finance reform sponsored by state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock.

"It's a good bill people, I know it's not perfect but it's the best we can do at this point in time."

The Killeen Republican acknowledged with no support in the Senate the plan would have caused a winless and time consuming debate.

"Continuing that debate to the point it kills dozens of bills needlessly, just to here yourself talk isn't a reasonable thing to do, I don't think," said Rep. Aycock.

House members did applaud the effort and Aycock's plan may eventually serve as a future blue print if and when a school finance special session is called later this year.

"It's definitely if we are going to use the system we have it a good frame work it's a good place to start, I think as evidence by the push back that he got and the difficulty in squeezing this particular school finance system into what works for today does beg the question, do we need to start from scratch," said Rep. Donna Howard (D) Austin.

It's expected the midnight deadline will also claim medical marijuana Legislation as well as a controversial bill to prevent gay marriage regardless of what the Supreme Court rules later this summer.

A stalling tactic involving the use of long drawn out questioning, known as "chubbing," is being used to burn away the minutes. The political drama even brought Governor Greg Abbott to the House and Senate floors.

When he left, Governor Abbott wouldn't say if he was worried about any particular piece of legislation.

"And I'm going to turn on the TV and see you guys on the floor at midnight tonight," said the Governor.

Some bills that die Thursday night can be resurrected as amendments onto legislation that beat the deadline. Some hot topics still alive include lawsuit protection for preachers who do not perform gay marriages and a bill to allow the use of marihuana extract oil to treat seizures. Both of those measures have cleared the state Senate and are awaiting House action.


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