With horns blaring and lights flashing, Austin taxi cab drivers conducted a rolling blockade up Congress. The group circled the capitol complex to protest the statewide ride-hailing bill approved by lawmakers.
The legislation eliminates the fingerprinting rule established in Austin last year that had Uber and Lyft leaving town. The rolling protest Friday was organized by cabbie Robert Hill as a last ditch to convince the Texas Governor not to sign the bill.
"This law cannot pass. You are jeopardizing public safety, you are jeopardizing young people's lives,” said Hill.
It’s believed the Texas Governor will sign the Ride Hailing Bill on Monday, but Thursday he wasn’t ready to make an official announcement when FOX 7 asked about it.
"Now you know, I will tell you about that when I get ready to sign it,” said Governor Abbott. On Friday morning, the Governor was at a local gun range where he did put his name to a Bill that reduces the price for gun permits.
In the capitol it was moving day, on the House side there's 20 pages worth of bills up for consideration and not a lot of time left to do it. In a flurry of votes, state lawmakers approved several hot topic bills for the governor to sign. They include allowing donations to be made on driver license renewals to help clear the backlog of untested rape kits. Another that allows volunteer firefighters and first responders to bring their guns on emergency calls. Some lone star- star power also appeared under the capitol dome.
Actor Jared Padalecki, known for his role in the TV show “Supernatural”, came with his wife to support David's Law. The bill cracks down on cyberbullying in schools and is trying to move out of a conference committee. The couple, who live in Austin, spend a lot of time advocating for those who suffer from depression.
"I don’t tease myself about my degree of celebrity or fame ... we do have a platform and I think it is important if it makes one more person to listen up and say, oh they're right, it can effect anybody ... and they decide to vote it through then I've done my job,” said Padalecki.
The outcome of several other high-profile bills remains uncertain; from property tax reform and legislation to restrict access to bathrooms by a person's gender at birth.
Governor Abbott has dismissed suggestions both could trigger a special session.
"I think it is highly inappropriate for a football player playing the 4th quarter to start talking about going into overtime, we have enough time to resolve these issues in a Regular session,” said Governor Abbott.
The cab drivers who were out here earlier today are not the only one's disappointed.
Pro-choice advocates are upset new anti-abortion legislation has passed, including the fetal burial requirement and banning the sale of fetal tissue. Only about half of the governor's ethics reform package made it through. The ethics bill that didn't make it would have reduced the amount lobbyists can spend to entertain officials, stop former state officials from immediately becoming paid lobbyists, and would have prohibited the governor from appointing big contributors to state positions.
There's also concern the governor has indicated he is on the fence regarding signing a statewide texting ban.