Texas Senate to Convene After Midnight Thursday to Kick-Start Special Session - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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Texas Senate to Convene After Midnight Thursday to Kick-Start Special Session

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says his goal is to pass each of the governor's priorities

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    In an unusual move, the Texas Senate will meet at 12:01 a.m. Thursday to speed up final passage of a sunset bill. (Published Wednesday, July 19, 2017)

    In an unusual move, the Texas Senate will meet at 12:01 a.m. Thursday to speed up final passage of a sunset bill. The Senate must pass this piece of legislation in order to move onto other business in the special session.

    It is a sign the Senate wants to move quickly with other issues.

    NBC 5 political reporter Julie Fine spoke to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Wednesday about the special session in Austin.

    "My goal from day one is to pass every one of the governor's 20 priorities. They are my priorities. They are the people's priorities," Patrick said.

    This weekend, Patrick says committees will meet between 10 and 15 hours a day, so they can vote next week and then get everything over to the House.

    A bathroom bill is expected to get through the Senate, but it has a tougher road in the House.

    CEOs of 14 companies, including many headquartered in North Texas, wrote a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott this week, expressing concerns about the legislation, which would limit the public restrooms transgender people can use to the gender listed on their birth certificate.

    The letters from companies such as American Airlines, AT&T, Southwest Airlines and Texas Instruments said Texas has long been a magnet for big business because of a "pro-growth" environment that encouraged diversity.

    Patrick says he will reply to each of those CEOs, but he is not concerned the state will lose any business if the measure passes.

    "We are not going to lose any business because of this. North Carolina did not lose any. They lost a minimal amount of business for a very short period of time, and everything was blown way out of proportion. North Carolina is doing just fine," Patrick said.

    The bathroom bill in North Carolina was later repealed. NBC News estimated it led to $186 million in lost revenue for the state.

    The bill that passed the Texas Senate didn't make it to the floor of the House for a vote during the regular legislative session. House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, is against the measure because of economic impact, and he says it could affect vulnerable Texans.

    The relationship between the two state leaders remains very icy.

    "No matter what the speaker says, I think when he objects to what the governor and I'm trying to do he is objecting to what the people want us to do," he said.

    Straus's office has no comment on that, and while Patrick can speed bills through the Senate, the House remains another matter.

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