Agenda Texas: Deadline Week in the Texas House

Crowds of visitors, lobbyists, and lawmakers turned out to the Texas capitol for the opening day of the 83rd legislative session, Jan. 8, 2013.
Crowds of visitors, lobbyists, and lawmakers turned out to the Texas capitol for the opening day of the 83rd legislative session, Jan. 8, 2013.

It’s so close, folks: just three weeks until the 83rd session of the Texas Legislature comes to an end.

But for many lawmakers, this week is the real end of all the work to turn campaign promises into legislation. Because for most bills that originated in the Texas House, it’s pass or pass away Thursday night at midnight — though Thursday isn't the first deadline of the week.

"At midnight tonight the committees have to get House bills and constitutional amendments that started in the House out of committee," said Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey. "Tomorrow night the calendars committee, which sets the agenda for the House, has to set its last calendar with House bills."

If a bill falters on any of those deadlines, that could be its last chance for the session. But there are a couple more chances in the coming days to resurrect legislation.

"You start hearing this weird phrase, 'I'm looking for a vehicle,'" Ramsey said. "That means they're looking for a Senate bill or something else that is further along in the process and still alive."

And if Gov. Rick Perry, House Speaker Joe Straus or Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst back your bill, that can help keep legislation alive. If all three support it, like the plan to spend $2 billion on water infrastructure projects, then the bill isn't dead until the final day of the session.

What are your priorities as Thursday’s House deadline approaches? Let us know at [email protected]. or drop us a line on Twitter: @AgendaTexas.

 

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.