Slow-Motion Start at the State Capitol Leaves Key Senate Rule Unsettled

The Texas Senate apparently will not decide until next week whether to maintain the key “two-thirds” rule that allows any 11 senators out of 31 to keep a bill from being considered. When senators eventually decide on their rules for the session, they may also be asked by Sen. Kirk Watson, Democrat of Austin, to include an interesting reform he has proposed. Watson wants the rules to require the biennial budget bill to be laid out for inspection a full five days before it can come up for a vote. The idea is that this layout period would give senators and citizens a chance to examine the huge bill (the education piece alone was 253 pages long last session) and to figure out what’s really in it and what it really does. We’ll let you know how far he gets with this common-sense proposal.

Also still pending are decisions on the rules of the House and on the membership of committees  in both chambers. Though both House and Senate bills are being filed at a steady clip (and we’ll be reporting on some notable ones in upcoming Hotlines), no action can be taken on any of them until they are referred to and dealt with by a committee.