Sunset bill passes Texas Senate during special session

On the second day of the special session: state senators took up the Sunset Bill Wednesday. It’s a critical step before the Governor will allow lawmakers to start working on 19 other items: including the controversial "Bathroom Bill."

The day of dueling Sunset Bills under the capitol dome began before members of the House State Affairs Committee. Representative Larry Gonzales presented HB 1 which is needed to keep several state agencies open; including the medical board.

"We've worked very carefully on this and I will tell you that this version of any extension is the only version which reflects exactly what the Governor has asked us to do,” said the Round Rock Republican.

Moments after the House Bill cleared the committee, members of the full Senate gave preliminary approval to its own Sunset Bill. A final vote was scheduled for 12:01am Thursday morning. The fast track vote in the Senate does not finalize the Sunset process, because expected differences with the House Bill could take several more days to work out. But action has happened in the Senate, and that’s apparently enough for the Governor to release ON Thursday the other 19 items in his call.

Democrats and Republicans in the House -say they will try to focus on issues that can win some bipartisan support. Topping the list; education reform, extending a commission studying maternal mortality rates and a crackdown on voter fraud.

"My goal is to again, try to get something done while we are here. I want to be effective and I think everybody that’s here wants to be effective as we go forward,” said State Rep Dan Huberty ( R ) Humble.

Others, like Brownsville Democrat Eddie Lucio III, are taking lemons to lemon aid approach. Rep. Lucio is hoping to squeeze in some amendments during the coming debates. 

"So I have my medicinal marijuana bill, the Compassionate Use Act, I already filed a bill during the special session to take that back up again, if there is a way to have that discussion and further that conversation during the special session I plan on doing it," said Lucio.

The early morning vote is being done to help Senate leader’s fast track items -like the Bathroom Bill -into committee hearings. The Lt Governor has indicated the Senate can pass all 20 items by late next week - but it's doubtful the House will move at a similar pace.