img
House Speaker Dade Phelan blocked from entering Texas Senate as GOP infighting escalates

House Speaker Dade Phelan blocked from entering Texas Senate as GOP infighting escalates

May 27, 2021
Click here to view original web page at www.houstonchronicle.com

Tensions between the two top political leaders in the Texas Legislature took a bizarre turn late Wednesday night when Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan was blocked from entering the Texas Senate. With just five days remaining in the Legislative Session and dozens of priority bills of the two leaders […]

Click here to view original web page at www.houstonchronicle.com


Tensions between the two top political leaders in the Texas Legislature took a bizarre turn late Wednesday night when Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan was blocked from entering the Texas Senate.

With just five days remaining in the Legislative Session and dozens of priority bills of the two leaders in jeopardy, Phelan tried to visit directly with Senators — a common practice in the closing days of intense negotiations.

But Phelan, a Republican from Beaumont, was barred entry.

Later, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who oversees the Senate, explained.

“Speaker @DadePhelan is always welcome in the TxSenate and was not denied entry tonite,” Patrick tweeted at 1:07 a.m. “He was stopped at the Gallery entrance because he was not wearing a required COVID test wristband. Messengers offered to get him a wristband, but the Speaker declined and left.”

Speaker@DadePhelan is always welcome in the TxSenate and was not denied entry tonite. He was stopped at the Gallery entrance because he was not wearing a required COVID test wristband. Messengers offered to get him a wristband, but the Speaker declined and left. #txlege”.

— Office of the Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (@LtGovTX) May 27, 2021

It’s all happening as Patrick voices increasing frustration about GOP prioritybills the Texas House killed, particularly a bill to ban transgender girls from competing on girls' scholastic sports teams. That bill died earlier this week, though there are still ways to revive it.

Dozens of other Republican priority bills passed, but nevertheless Patrick has called on Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session to force the House again to take up the legislation.

On Wednesday morning, Patrick put out a Tweet calling on Abbott to declare a special session in June. Only Abbott has the power under the Texas Constitution to call a special session.

“Asking @GregAbbott_TX to call a June #SpecialSession today to pass #SB29 to save girls sports…” Patrick tweeted.

Asking @GregAbbott_TX to call a June #SpecialSession today to pass #SB29 to save girls sports, #SB10 to end taxpayer funded lobbying and #SB12 to stop social media censorship. The TxHouse killed these conservative bills that majority of Texans in both parties support. #txlege

— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) May 26, 2021

He also listed other failed bills — a ban on taxpayer-funded lobbyists by city governments and legislation to stop social media companies from “censorship” — as important measures the House failed to advance.

“The TxHouse killed these conservative bills that majority of Texans in both parties support,” Patrick tweeted.

Patrick has a long history of fighting for measures to restrict or regulate transgender Texans. In 2017 a similar bill to bar transgender children from using bathrooms they are most comfortable with also triggered calls for a special session after the House refused to take it up under nationwide pressure from businesses to boycott Texas if it were enacted. Abbott did call a special session and the so-called bathroom bill never passed.

Patrick may be employing a new tactic to force Abbott’s hand. The Texas Tribune reported that the Senate has not passed legislation needed to continue operations at 16 state agencies. If not passed, the bill, known as a Sunset Bill, would kill Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, Texas Racing Commission and the Parks and Wildlife Department among others.

If the Legislature doesn’t pass that bill — HB 1600 — Abbott could be forced to call the Legislature back into a special session to address it.

jeremy.wallace@chron.com

Article Categories:
Texas

Comments are closed.