Midnight deadline in House leads to more than 100 bills dying

Texas State Capitol building. (KXAN Photo/Erin Cargile)
Texas State Capitol building. (KXAN Photo/Erin Cargile)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Lawmakers in the state House had a big deadline overnight. They had until midnight to pass bills out of committee. In the end, more than 100 bills died, but could see a second life if they get attached to another bill that has already passed.

It was an emotional night inside the House chamber as some lawmakers were yelling and scolding their fellow lawmakers for their partisan behavior during the session. Others made tearful pleas to have their bill heard.

Representative Drew Springer, R-Muenster, made one of the most heartfelt pleas of the night for his bill on experimental stem cell treatments. He talked about how his wife can’t walk and this legislation could help others like her.

“It opens up the doors of medical science to be able done right here Texas,” says Rep. Springer. “And I understand some are mad their bills haven’t passed. But I would trade every single one of them to get to hear House Bill 810.”

About 30 minutes before the midnight deadline, Representative Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, took to the microphone to denounce the House’s leadership during the session.

“Make no mistake about it folks, the people responsible for the bills you care about, that your constituents care about, have micromanaged this process,” says Rep. Stickland. “We have seen bills die on the floor, go down in votes, we’ve seen them knocked off calendars, and resurrected at a moments notice – over and over again.”

Some of the more than 100 bills that died include:

  • HB 11 – It would provide mental health training for school employees.
  • HB 81 – Civil penalties rather than criminal for small amounts of marijuana.
  • HB 463 – Disqualifies people from receiving unemployment benefits if their employer fires them, even if they’ve given notice of resignation.
  • HB 577 – Regulates how a private employer may consider criminal history of applicants.
  • HB 1314 – If a pregnant woman is arrested by police she can be released on a personal bond.
  • HB 3435 – Would require signature verification on early voting ballots by mail.
  • HB 122 – Would raise the age of criminal responsibility in Texas from 17 to 18 years old.

The House has another week to consider the Senate bills and the Senate has up until the end of the session to vote on their bills. The final day of the session is drawing near – Memorial Day, Monday, May 29th.

At this point it’s not clear if Governor Abbott might call a special session.

Kate Weidaw looks at the bills that died on KXAN News Today

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