UPDATE:

After Texas House members accused the Senate of “purposeful inaction,” Lt. Governor Dan Patrick shot back Sunday afternoon insisting the “Sunset” issue can only be resolved in a special session.

 

Patrick said the House didn’t complete its work, blaming Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, for acting slowly on legislation that is needed to keep five state agencies running, including the board that licenses the state’s doctors.

 

“They waited to do their entire session of work in the last 20 some days of session,” Patrick said.

 

Vice Chair of the Sunset Commission, Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, added the fix the House sent the Senate doesn’t work. He said the House’s version does not include 28 chapters of state licensing law that will also expire in September.

 

“Without these boards and without these statutes, you’re not going to have a doctor in the State of Texas,” Taylor said.

 

 

Patrick said the issue could be handled in two or three days in a special session.

 

 

EARLIER:

With the clock quickly ticking down to the end of the 85th Legislative Session, tensions between both chambers are at an all time high.

 

Texas House members Sunday called on the Senate to end the standoff over bathrooms and property taxes and pass a bill that would keep five state agencies from closing.

 

“The House has done its job on all matters sunset related,” Rep. Larry Gonzales, R-Round Rock, said. “It is the purposeful inaction by the Texas Senate that puts us where we are today.”

 

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has threatened to block a “Sunset bill” needed to avoid five agencies from expiring under the state’s Sunset Commission review process. By doing so, Patrick could force lawmakers into a special session even though the Governor is the only one with the power to call lawmakers back. Patrick wants the House to approve his top priorities dealing with bathroom regulations and property tax reform.

 

Governor Greg Abbott wants those measures approved, too, but has also said lawmakers can accomplish all of their work on time.

 

One of the agencies that would close if the Sunset bill does not pass is the Texas Medical Board, which licenses doctors.

 

“It is the Texas Senate who is playing games with the health and safety of the people of Texas,” Gonzales said.

 

This is a developing story. Lt. Governor Patrick is expected to respond at 4pm.

 

Posted by Karina Kling

@KarinaKling