Texas legislative session ends with new steps toward Ken Paxton impeachment trial

The final hours of the Texas Legislature's regular session were spent trying to resolve differences between the House and Senate over a property tax cut deal. When would it end was the question of the day. 

As negotiators worked in a back room, lawmakers on the House floor spent their time passing friendly resolutions with one honoring state Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) for serving 50 years in the House.

"The things that I like about the House. We know how to put partisanship aside on many issues and work on the issues themselves," said Rep, Thompson.

Lawmakers have made several late hour bipartisan deals, agreeing on a $321 billion two-year budget was the most important of the 140-day gathering. 


The struggle to pass tax relief did have an earlier success with a new sales tax exemption on menstrual hygiene products was able to beat a critical deadline.

"I am glad to see that we are not going to be having that tax anymore. And let me just mention, too, we're also looking at things like diapers in this particular bill. We're going to be exempting sales tax on diapers for not only infants but for adults that have to wear diapers. This is a necessity. These are our absolute necessities for families. So that's why we're talking about this being freedom from everyday essentials, from taxes," said state Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin).

The political turmoil under the Capitol dome will not end with the end of the session. The break is not expected to be long with a special session expected as lawmakers are anticipating Gov. Greg Abbott will try to revive his controversial school choice tuition idea. 

On Monday, the governor was at a Memorial Day observance in Georgetown. He didn't speak with FOX 7 Austin as he left the event. 

During the ceremony the only thing he said remotely political was a reference to the National Guard's role with Operation Lone Star.

"A place where people probably thought we would never have our military deployed is to the border between Texas and Mexico. I am proud to tell you that as we gather here on this day, we have thousands of members of the Texas National Guard who are on the border turning back and denying entry, to people who are trying to cross illegally," said Abbott.

In the Texas Senate, the big vote Monday morning involved the appointment of state Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) to the position of Interim President Pro-tem.

"It’s more important than ever, that we some of the courage to rise above petty personal grievances, and partisan agendas find common agreement, and commit ourselves wholeheartedly the service of all Texans," said Sen. Schwertner.

Sen. Schwertner's watch will not only be interrupted by a special session but the impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who spent Memorial Day posting on social media, spending time with family and still relieved of duty.


The Articles of Impeachment against Paxton were officially delivered to the Texas Senate Monday afternoon by the House Impeachment Board of Managers. The board was appointed by a House Resolution, HR 2547, on a vote of 136 to 4, and is made up of seven Republicans and five Democrats.

The board of managers will be chaired by Rep. Andrew Murr (R-Junction) and vice-chaired by Rep. Ann Johnson (D-Houston). 

The other 10 are Reps. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth), Joe Moody (D-El Paso), Terry Canales (D-Edinburg), Jeff Leach (R-Plano), Oscar Longoria (D-Mission), Morgan Meyer (R-University Park), Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park), Cody Vasut (R-Angleton), David Spiller (R-Jacksboro), and Erin Gámez (D-Brownsville).

A date for the trial has not been announced.

The Texas Tribune contributed to this report.