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Texas Medical Board Sunset Bills Leave Senate “Station”

July 20, 2017

AUSTIN – The Texas Senate unanimously passed the Texas Medical Board’s, and other related agencies, sunset bills, SB 20 and SB 60, in a midnight session early this morning. The bill’s author, Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano), who also serves as the Treasurer of the Senate Republican Caucus said, “This is the fastest bill I have ever passed in my entire legislative career.” The bill now moves to the Texas House of Representatives.

Following the vote, Governor Abbott expanded the special session call for an additional nineteen items and the Senate went right to work and, by a party line vote, established hearings for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday on all of these major issues. In a repeat of yesterday’s discussion, Senate Democrat Caucus Chair Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) objected to Sen. Kelly Hancock’s (R-North Richland Hills) motion to override tags that had been placed on these bills that would have stopped these bills from being heard for a 48-hour period.

Lt. Governor Patrick ruled the motion by Sen. Rodriguez was “out of order” and the Senate voted to proceed with hearings on Friday. Caucus Vice-Chair Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) observed, “We are now halfway there for Texas doctors to continue treating Texas patients.”

Friday:
Health and Human Services (Chair Charles Schwertner) – 8 AM
State Affairs (Chair Joan Huffman) – 9 AM
Education (Chair Larry Taylor) – 10 AM

Saturday:
Business and Commerce (Chair Kelly Hancock) – 9 AM
Government Reform (Chair Paul Bettencourt) – 11 AM
Finance (Chair Jane Nelson) – 1 PM

The Government Reform Committee is a new senate select committee created by Lt. Governor Patrick. As none of the posting requirements for public hearings were suspended these hearing notices were published today. The public is invited to attend these hearings, and can find more information here: http://bit.ly/2tj1ZTv

Due to the interest in property taxes throughout the state, the Select Committee on Government Reform will be using the largest hearing venue available, the Capitol Auditorium. All hearings are open to the public, up to one hour before the start time and up to three hours after it begins, unless the hearing ends before that time, and the public may register a position or provide written testimony at any point during the hearing.

In a moment of levity, prior to the midnight hearing, Lt. Governor Patrick made good on his promise to deliver pizza and “soda pop” to the members in the Senate lounge. “The consensus was that the use of the term “soda pop” highlights his early roots from his days in Baltimore. However, we were all glad that he made his way to Texas as soon as he could,” laughed Caucus Chair Bettencourt (R-Houston).

There are additional hearings scheduled on Sunday and then the full Senate will be back in Session on Monday at 9 AM. Chairman Bettencourt concluded, “The Texas Senate is going to work voting on these bills, just like Texans expect us to do.”

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