As tensions between the chambers increase, House Representative Pro-Tem Joe Moody (D-El Paso) shared his thoughts on the legislative session.
AUSTIN, Texas – Tensions are rising under the pink dome as lawmakers wait for the opposing chamber to approve their bills.
Three things to know about Texas politics
While you expect differences between Democrats and Republicans in the Texas Capitol, there are also strong differences between chambers, especially when it comes to priority legislation.
For the House, criminal justice reform was the first part of the agenda for this session. But dozens of bills passed by members are only sitting in the Senate.
On Thursday, Plano Republican Jeff Leach called the Senate in a tweet and wrote in part, “If the TX Senate wants to kill or run for important laws sent by the House, they can expect the same in return. As of today. As a wise fellow in the House once said, ‘The Senate can respect us or wait for us.’ “
There are two chambers or no chambers. If the TX Senate wants to kill or run for the important laws sent by the House, they can expect the same in return. From today. As a wise fellow member of the House once said: “The Senate can respect us. Let’s wait for it. ” #txlege
– Jeff Leach (@leachfortexas) May 20, 2021
A few hours later, Leach grabbed the back microphone on the floor of the House to talk about deadlines for the House to pass Senate laws, the procedure for killing Senate laws, and inaction on House priorities.
“House Bill 275, author of President Pro-Tem Moody, with joint authors Senfronia Thompson, Murr, President Collier and Jeff Leach, a bill that was passed 145 to 2 of this House, went be rejected and killed by the Senate Jurisprudence Committee, “Leach said.
And some Democrats supported him.
“Is there anything in the House rules or in the Constitution that forces the House to pass more Senate bills in this session?” Asked Rep. Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie).
It’s more than talking. Leach moved to the House until Sunday afternoon, which will give her less time to pass Senate laws. And the message seemed to be received. On Friday, the Senate began moving some of the House’s criminal justice laws.
RELATED: The allocation of $ 16 billion in coronavirus relief funds will be part of the special legislative session in the fall, says Gov. Greg Abbott
If the passage of the laws did not create enough tension between the chambers, add the state budget. Lawmakers reached an agreement on the Senate bill on Friday and reportedly passed a key provision added by the House to require the legislature’s approval to spend billions of dollars in federal relief funding COVID-19.
The budget is the only legislation that lawmakers must pass by the Constitution during the session. Apparently, Gov. Greg Abbott is trying to resolve the split and writes to lawmakers Thursday:
“As everyone knows, I will convene a special session for redistricting in the fall … I will put the allocation of nearly $ 16 billion in federal funds to aid the fiscal recovery of the coronavirus state in the same special call so that the whole legislature can participate in the allocation process in a way that best serves all Texans. “
Texas now has one of the strictest abortion laws in the country. The Abbott government this week signed Senate Bill 8, the Texas Heartbeat Act.
“The lives of all unborn children who have a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion,” Abbott said.
The law prohibits doctors and health care providers from performing abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. There is no exception for rape or incest victims, only for a medical emergency.
The reason it is considered a practical ban on all abortions is because a heartbeat is usually detected at six weeks of gestation. The gestation period begins on the first day of a woman’s last menstrual cycle before pregnancy, about two weeks before she gave birth. That’s why most women don’t know they’re pregnant until after six weeks, at which point they will no longer be allowed to have an abortion.
The law will take effect on September 1.
House Speaker Joe Moody’s representative reflects on the session
We are now eight days away from Sine Die, the end of Texas ’87th legislative session. House Speaker Pro-Tem Joe Moody (D-El Paso) joined Ashley Goudeau of KVUE to talk about the temperature of the session and the priority legislation that Democrats could not reach. meta.
Ashley Goudeau: Representative Moody, thank you so much for taking a while to chat with us today.
Representative Joe Moody: “Thank you so much.”
Goudeau: You know, I want you to talk to us about your general thoughts about this session.
changing mood: “Well, I think the session has been pretty weird and unique. You know, we didn’t know, we didn’t know what to expect. We were going into session in the middle of a pandemic. And then I had the Uri winter storm that launched the biggest part of the state to a new crisis.Therefore, all those things that were included, you know, created for us a complexity that we had never seen before.
I mean, we’ve changed all the rules of the House to be able to adapt to pandemic navigation. So in the first 60 days when we barely existed in the Capitol to make sure we didn’t have any widespread events, it’s usually 60 days that are used. [for] build relationships and work on problems and overcome obstacles. And you have to put that on top of the fact that we didn’t have a real interim, where it’s also part of that job. And we had some very contested elections in 2020. So all of these things added to the creation of a very strange dynamic, I think, during the session, some of which we still see even, even in these last stages of the session. “
Goudeau: What did you most want to be able to, to overcome this, right now, when a week is left, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen?
changing mood: “When we entered the building, we wanted to see some expansion of access to health care. Now, the widespread expansion of Medicaid is something that doesn’t seem to be happening right now. But there are some efforts. very positive on our side of the aisle also to deal with maternal mortality and also to address child health insurance.And therefore these are still very much alive and moving in the Senate.And these could come very, very The governor’s table is a big deal for the Democratic group and the minority party, and there are a number of criminal justice and police reform bills that still float with a significant amount of life. You know, the House voted 73 different criminals the justice reform bill this session, which I think is monumental.But again, it’s fantastic, but we want to make sure we bring them to the governor’s table and, without doubt, there is still some opportunity to do so.
So, you know, I think the challenges we were facing, no doubt, coming from El Paso, this is very pronounced for me, as we pass without permission and we are, we are still hanging on the scales, we don’t know where is to go to the ground. But I think it’s a very dangerous bill. And I don’t think it’s something we should have spent any time in this session. We have also seen a very aggressive invasion in voter access to voter access to the polls. And so these are things I would have thought we could have avoided and come to the kind of more serious problems of our day. ”
Goudeau: There were several bills that Democrats really fought hard to try to stop – of course, there’s still a little more time left. But was there anything in particular? I know you mentioned a transport without permission, you mentioned SB7, which we are waiting to see what happens. Senate Bill 8 was another big one. Were there any in particular that you personally didn’t want to see happen?
changing mood: “Well, you know, given the experience we had in El Paso during the temporary and the tragedy that came to our community, I definitely wanted to make more efforts to pass gun security measures. And what we saw instead was 180 degrees on the contrary.We were able to pass what is called “lying and trying.” Sen. [César] Blanc from El Paso and Rep. [Charlie] Geren, of Tarrant County, joined to approve this bill. Last week we left her in the House. And so this is a victory in gun security. But I think obviously we could have gone further. There were many more issues that had consensus around. So this is certainly what stays in my mind.
I think we had a debate and certainly the debate on SB8, we were able, I think, that the minority party was able to narrow the focus of this bill. Certainly, it is still something that the group was widely opposed to. But perhaps the impact in the real world will not be as profound compared to the aspect of the bill when it came to talking. And we’ll have to see what happens with SB7. That is on the conference committee right now, and hopefully there are ways to continue to minimize the damage of this bill. “
Goudeau: One of the most important changes in the House is the new speaker. Tell us about Speaker’s leadership style [Dade] Phelan, your thoughts on him as a speaker?
changing mood: “Well, I think the speaker, no matter who they are, they have a very big challenge because they are different from anyone, from any other state leader because they have to look at the body, at the Texas house to choose them And they’re elected by a group of members across the state, and unlike Washington, that means building coalitions between the two sides of the aisle, so, you know, it may seem easy from a distance, but I know it’s And so, yes, there are some very conservative items that we saw on the floor of the house and that we struggled between teeth and nails and obviously we didn’t want to see in it, but we also saw very health measures strong and much, as I said, more than 73 bills on criminal justice reform and a speaker who has elevated criminal justice reform to a place it had never been elevated to before.
Then, yes, I said it at the beginning when President Phelan appointed me to be its president, and that is respect. I understand that we are not the same party and that we will not agree on many things. But he has always been willing to figure out where we can agree and expand the policy areas that can be winning for all of us. And I think that’s important when it comes to building coalitions so we can understand both sides of the aisle. And I think he’s really trying to do that. “
This legislative session ends on May 31st.
I WILL SEE: Reaction to Texas Heartbeat Act
Child killed in multiple vehicle crash on Highway 130
Ongoing investigation of Austin man last seen on top of Mount Whitney in California, according to NPS
One of Austin’s first black cannabis businesses to light highlights the disparities in the industry