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Quorum Report Daily Buzz

March 16, 2019      12:49 PM

SB: State of the Senate

After the bathroom war with business, Senate leadership is content to dismiss major business concerns not only on the paid sick leave bill but oil and gas along with transportation interests were given the brush off over eminent domain

It is fair to say that in Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s first two sessions as presiding officer of the Texas Senate, he had a legislative chamber built for speed. This was on full display in 2017 as the Republican supermajority almost effortlessly passed “conservative” bill after “conservative” bill, leaving the Texas House with the leverage – and time – to kill those deemed overreaching.

After two Republicans lost their races in DFW last year, though, Patrick has struggled to move even emergency items and only this past week did he unveil his 30 priority bills of the session. Last session, he started out with a similar list that all easily won approval in the upper chamber.

This year the list includes a $5,000 teacher pay raise – the Senate’s centerpiece of school finance reform which falls short of Patrick’s $10,000 goal. Right-wing enforcement groups have been calling the expenditure, committing future Legislatures to those spending levels, irresponsible. The raises represent 44% of the budget surplus. What happens when there is not a $9 billion surplus?

And just this week, every Republican senator defied the Texas Public Policy Foundation and Chairman Tim Dunn’s Empower Texans in passing a supplemental budget that would make a $4.3 billion withdrawal from the Economic Stabilization Fund.

Let’s review the State of the Senate.

By Scott Braddock

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