Texas House Reps Slow Special Session with Non-Agenda Bills

Abbott - Sarah Davis
File Photos: Breitbart Texas, AP

Members of the Texas House introduced a series of bills in an apparent attempt to obstruct the conservative agenda set by Governor Greg Abbott. The Texas Constitution states that there shall be no legislation on subjects other than those designated by the governor in his proclamation calling for the special session.

Governor Abbott issued a 21-item agenda for the 85th Texas Legislature to consider when he called the special session, Breitbart Texas reported. Those items include issues deemed to be important to Texas taxpayers including: reducing property taxes; raising teacher’s pay; caps on local and state spending; city annexation reform; pro-life insurance reform; protecting women’s health by strengthening abortion reporting requirements when complications occur; stopping taxpayer funding of abortions; privacy issues; and mail-in ballot voter fraud prevention.

During a live-streamed press conference on Wednesday, State Representatives Sarah Davis (R-Houston) and Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) introduced a series of ethics reform bills. Governor Abbott’s proclamation calling for the special session does not list this issue as one of the agenda items to be considered during the 30-day statutory window for a special session.

Davis said she is asking the governor to add the topic to the already crowded list of conservative issues. She and Larson filed at least six bills on the topic that cannot legally be considered.

Article 3, Section 40 of the Texas Constitution states: “When the Legislature shall be convened in special session, there shall be no legislation upon subjects other than those designated in the proclamation of the Governor calling such session, or presented to them by the Governor; and no such session shall be of longer duration than thirty days.”

The session began on July 18 and is limited by the Texas Constitution to not more than 30 days.

Breitbart Texas reached out to the two representatives on the evening before the press conference to ask why they were introducing bills that are not authorized for consideration. The representatives have not responded to the request. Following the press conference, Breitbart Texas sent a written request to Rep. Davis’ chief of staff asking under what authority Davis filed the bills. Again, Rep. Davis’ office did not respond.

The Texas Senate is moving quickly through the governor’s agenda items. Davis said she thought it was unlikely that the House would have time to get through the governor’s agenda and then added more issues to the House calendar. Legislators introduced ethics bills during the last two legislative sessions–none made it to the governor’s desk.

“Instead of working to advance items on the special session agenda that could reform property taxes, fix school finance, increase teacher pay and reduce regulations, Reps. Davis and Larson are showboating over proposals that are not on the Governor’s call,” Governor Abbott’s spokesman John Wittman told Breitbart Texas. “Their constituents deserve better.”

Texas House records obtained by Breitbart Texas shows Davis not only filed the bills (House Bills 15 through 19) but has scheduled them for committee hearings taking up time that could be used for consideration of the lawful bills authorized by Governor Abbott. Rep. Larson’s bill (House Bill 33) has also been scheduled for a hearing.

All of these bills have been introduced on the House Floor and referred to the General Investigating and Ethics Committee, chaired by Davis.

Should a bill make it back to the House Floor for a vote, any representative could likely prevail on a point of order objection and kill it.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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