Legislative Line – Aug. 17, 2017 – Special Session Wrapup

With one day remaining in the 30-day session, the first called special ended abruptly one day early, on the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 15. The House and Senate were originally expected to work up until the midnight deadline on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the House agreed to accept the Senate’s version of the school finance reform bill and end the standoff on the issue. The Senate’s version stripped out $1.5 billion in funding from the measure. The House then, unexpectedly, adjourned Sine Die (Latin for without day), giving the Senate a take-it-or-leave it choice on the House’s version of Senate Bill 1, the governor’s priority property tax reform measure.

Both chambers had been expected to send representatives to a conference committee to iron out their differences on a bill that would have called for voter approval of property tax increases over a certain threshold. The House and Senate were at a standoff on whether that threshold should be a 6 percent tax increase (like the House wanted) or a 4 percent increase (like the Senate wanted). The House’s adjournment meant that the Senate could either take the bill as the House sent it to them or call it a day without passing anything. The Senate chose not to move forward with the measure, citing its inadequacy to address Texas taxpayers need for tax relief.

Many government officials had something to say about the early adjournment:

The chambers never managed to reach common ground on many of the 20 issues Abbott included on the special session agenda.

Special Session issues that passed:

Special session issues that did not pass: