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Patrick: House ‘dysfunction is reason legislature faces multiple special sessions | Texas

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www.thecentersquare.com – By Bethany Blankley | contributor – 2023-06-02 07:27:00

(The Center Square) – When discussing successes and failures of the 88th legislative session at an event hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation this week, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said the Republican-controlled House's “dysfunction” is the reason why the legislature was facing multiple special sessions.

One of Gov. Greg Abbott's key legislative priorities, school choice, passed the Senate but not the House. Both chambers also remained at odds over how to provide property tax relief and implement border security measures. Major bills that passed the Senate with bipartisan support failed in the House.

When asked why there was a need for a special session, Patrick replied, “I'm tired of the dysfunction of the House in passing legislation to us in a timely manner. And I'm tired of these points of orders that are called on good legislation like the virtual school bill,” he said, referring to a bipartisan bill to enhance virtual learning that was killed in the House.

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“I have begged and pleaded with the House every session, [saying] ‘send me your legislation sooner,'” he said. “This session, once again, we received 1,250 bills without about three and a half weeks to go; 900 of those with two weeks to go. We can't hear them.”

He also said that by April 3, the Senate had passed 121 bills, the House had passed seven. The House “spent the entire month of March basically doing resolutions and going away for long weekends,” he said. “Nothing was done in March. Even by the third week of March they passed 80 bills when we were up to over 300.” He also said, “90% of everything we voted out was mid- to late- April, first week of May.”

The biggest problem with the legislative process, he said, is that the House doesn't hear Senate bills until the last 10-14 days of session. And because “of endless points of order and chubbing the Democrats have total control over the House chamber. We are a Republican majority state and the rules of the House are set up to allow the minority to kill bills they don't like,” he said. “It's dysfunctional. The points of order on conference committee reports, we've never seen it like that.”

A point of order is a parliamentarian action members use to claim any aspect of a bill violates House rules. The House speaker must either agree or overrule it. Democrats repeatedly used points of order to effectively kill bills by winding down the clock so that no time was left to vote. Points of order were approved by Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, whom Patrick refers to as “California Dade,” implying he's really a Democrat.

If the speaker sustains a point of order, the bill can go back to a committee to have an error fixed but according to House rules the bill can't be taken up again for another 36 hours.

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A point of order can stall a bill even further, and effectively kill it, when used by members during floor debates. They can be used for any length of time and can apply to any parliamentary rule.

Patrick said House members in conference committee would make a point of order because in a bill analysis, for example, a staff member wrote the wrong word, or made a spelling mistake. He said representatives, senators and their staff had “worked a year and a half before session, various groups, Democrat and Republican have worked on legislation, and it gets there after hours and hours and weeks and weeks … and someone says, ‘oh, there's a word misspelled there, send that back.'”

The only reason the Texas Senate passes conservative bills, with bipartisan support, he said, is because when he became lieutenant governor, he changed the rules of procedure to benefit the majority. The Senate has since passed roughly 900 bills every session and less than 25 are partisan bills, he said. Changing the rules enabled the Senate members to work together, he said; 99% of the bills they pass are bipartisan.

Once they changed the rules and said, “come join us,” the Senate was more effective, Patrick said.

In the Senate, there are maybe five points of order in a year. In the House, there are five on a single bill, he said.

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“People get frustrated if they elect you and you say, ‘well, the Democrats did this. They chubbed this bill.' You shouldn't be able to get up and talk about artwork in Italy to kill a bill. That's not what the people expect from us.”

He's asked the House to change the rules “to give themselves a fighting chance.”

He also said, “If the House doesn't change the chubbing rules, if they don't move up the clock, if they don't go to work in March, we're going to be in the same situation as we have been, forever.”

Chubbing is the “practice of one or more members of the legislature debating bills at great length to slow down the legislative process,” the Legislative Reference Library of Texas explains.

Patrick says these practices in the House are continuing “to be abused” and House leadership was continuing “to let the Democrats run the House.” Over the last few weeks, he said Democratic Reps. Joe Moody of El Paso, Rafael Anchia of Dallas, and Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio “were running the House, not the speaker.”

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Phelan's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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The post Patrick: House ‘dysfunction is reason legislature faces multiple special sessions | Texas appeared first on www.thecentersquare.com

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Kenneth Zink accused: Houston firefighter out on bond after allegedly filming 14-year-old girl in the shower, court records state

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abc13.com – Alex Bozarjian – 2024-02-25 23:27:02

SUMMARY: Houston firefighter Kenneth Zink, accused of filming a 14-year-old girl in the shower, has been released on bond. Additional child pornography was found on his phone during a search by police. Zink, who has been with the Houston Fire Department for 21 years, confessed to the crime. He will be removed from his assignment and placed on administrative status as the department investigates. Zink is not allowed contact with minors under 17 years old as part of his bond conditions. The department stated that his actions do not reflect their values. The investigation is ongoing.

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The post Kenneth Zink accused: Houston firefighter out on bond after allegedly filming 14-year-old girl in the shower, court records state appeared first on abc13.com

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Franklin Aribeana heart surgery: Houston man nearly dies after drinking ice-cold water, sent to multiple emergency room visits

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abc13.com – Lileana Pearson – 2024-02-25 22:51:47

SUMMARY: Houston man Franklin Aribeana almost died from drinking cold water due to a rare heart condition that triggered atrial fibrillation (Afib). Over 15 years, he had numerous hospital visits before connecting the dots and needing heart surgery. Genetic testing revealed a gene mutation causing the Afib when cold water touched the vagus nerve in his throat. Aribeana underwent an ablation surgery to stop the connection between the nerve and heart, leading to a full recovery. His message is to pay attention to symptoms and seek help if needed. His story highlights the importance of listening to your body and seeking medical attention when necessary.

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The post Franklin Aribeana heart surgery: Houston man nearly dies after drinking ice-cold water, sent to multiple emergency room visits appeared first on abc13.com

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Texas Longhorns softball storms back to beat Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns 5-4

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www.kxan.com – Billy Gates – 2024-02-25 22:33:51

SUMMARY: No. 2 Texas rallied from a 4-0 deficit to defeat Louisiana 5-4 at McCombs Field. Despite giving up runs in the first inning, Texas responded by scoring four runs in the first two innings to tie the game and take the lead. Reese Atwood had a strong performance at the plate, going 4 for 4 with two RBIs. Pitchers Mac Morgan, Citlaly Gutierrez, and Teagan Kavan contributed to the win. The Longhorns improve to 12-1 for the season and will play Texas State before hosting the Longhorn Invitational.

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