TTU Law School professor, former Texas legislator speaks on prioritized bills yet to be passed

Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 7:16 PM CDT
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AUSTIN, Texas (KCBD) - The regular legislative session ended last week, leaving many priority bills not passed.

Governor Greg Abbott called for an immediate special session to address these prioritized bills. However, this does not mean those bills will be signed into law anytime soon.

“The regular session didn’t get all the work done,” Texas Tech law professor and former Texas legislative member, Bill Keffer, said.

The 88th Texas legislative session met for 140 days. Both the house and senate filed more than 8,000 bills and almost 12,000 resolutions. As the regular session wrapped up, only about 1,000 bills and 4,000 resolutions were passed, leaving critical ones on the floor.

“There was such disagreement between the two houses, the Governor decides that priorities that he wanted to have addressed in the regular session didn’t get accomplished, then he can call the legislature back into a special session,” Keffer stated.

During a special session, the governor has full control of what bills are brought to the table. During the first special session, Abbott called the property tax bill for the legislature to address. The topic was heavily debated in the regular session, but with chambers continuing to be divided, this session ended in a showdown.

“We’ve got egos involved, we’ve got policy positions involved,” Keffer said.

The governor has the power to continue to call the legislation back to get the bills passed.

“It really depends on how much appetite each side has for stringing it out,” Keffer stated.

Abbott has already stated that “many critical items remain” to be passed by the legislature; he stated he expects to call multiple special sessions.

“It remains to be seen how many we’ll have, but we already have one in progress that hasn’t accomplished what he wanted, so, that’s a pretty good indication that this might go on for a while,” Keffer said.

If the chambers do not reach an agreement during these special sessions, many high-profile bills will be put off until the 89th Texas legislation in 2025.