hot list: day 119

Day 119 of the 82nd Texas Legislature

“It is very bad—bad precedent, bad form, bad mojo, bad everything —to bring a bill to the floor and allow no debate.”
Rep. Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, on the Republican maneuver to suspend debate and amendments for the “loser pay” tort reform bill Saturday.

The House nearly melted down on Saturday when the Republican super majority exercised its power for the first time this session. Republicans passed a controversial tort reform bill without debate or amendments. As Abby Rapoport writes, you know you’re witnessing a pivotal moment when even the mild-mannered Craig Eiland is throwing a rulebook. “It was obvious to everyone that we were watching a key moment of the legislative session,” she writes.  

The sanctuary city bill was temporarily derailed Friday night after a procedural technicality sent it back to the drawing room. Republicans wasted no time, though, and passed it back out of committee that same night. Debate over the contentious immigration legislation is scheduled to resume today, and we expect that Democrats will have more procedural tricks up their sleeves.  

Fort Worth Republican Charlie Geren’s proposal to end the TCEQ’s oversight of public and private dams may jepordize the safety of many Texas city dwellers. As the Statesman’s Tim Eaton reports, the amendment to the TCEQ sunset bill was meant to help rural farmers and ranchers, but opponents fear that faulty dams could endanger the lives of many Texans living in cities and suburbs. 

House members had a day to cool off but will be back to the fight today. HB 12, the sanctuary city bill, is back on the schdedule for debate, as is HB 400, a major education reform bill that would change rules on teacher contracts and class sizes. 

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