Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick signaled Monday that recent votes in the House may not be enough to avoid a special session for the state legislature.
He had called on the House to pass a "bathroom-type bill" and property tax reform. This past weekend, the House voted on both issues.
"I share Governor Abbott's concern about the lack of a rollback provision in Senate Bill 669 on property taxes," Patrick said. "In terms of privacy, I had not seen the language on the 'Paddie Amendment' on Senate Bill 2078 before it was voted on last night. I also have concerns about its ambiguous language, which doesn't appear to do much. There is still time for the House and Senate to address these concerns – which are both priorities for Texas voters – in a meaningful way."
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The bathroom legislation was approved by the House Sunday night. It involves public schools, from kindergarten through 12th grade. The amendment requires students to use the bathroom and locker rooms that match their identities on their birth certificates. Schools must have a "single occupancy" facility, for students who do not want to do that. It was approved after heated debate on the floor.
In a statement to NBC 5, a spokesman for Gov. Greg Abbott said, "Governor Abbott's hope is that the House and the Senate will agree on a measure that, at a minimum, protects the privacy of students in locker rooms and restrooms, and he will continue to work with members of both chambers to achieve that goal."
The latest property tax legislation passed in the house Saturday does not include a roll back provision. That provision requires voter approval, if a municipality wants to raise property taxes 5 percent or more. The bill does create more transparency when homeowners contest their appraisals. Homeowners will also have a website to check their proposed tax rates for the following year, and that information will be available two weeks before those taxes are voted on.
While it is up to the governor to call a special session, the bills approved by the House this weekend do need Senate approval. The legislature is scheduled to wrap up May 29.