Deadlines fast approaching in Texas Senate
With just two weeks left in the 85th legislative session, Texas lawmakers are fighting to keep their bills alive.
The fate of bills passed after Friday is grim. The deadline for Senate bills is next Wednesday, but realistically, bills must pass through the Senate by Friday to be considered by the House.
The budget, however, has to be sent to the printers Monday.
"(The budget) is the number one bill you have to have to close out the session," said Democratic Senator Jose Menendez. "Without it, you're headed to a special session."
Menendez said the House and Senate have differing ideas of how to finance the budget and there are still a lot of hurdles to overcome.
Many other bills have large hurdles as well.
"Thousands of bills will be dying very soon," said Republican Senator Dawn Buckingham.
Buckingham said she and her staff have been working non-stop on more than 60 bills she authored this session. Some of her bills have already died, yet others, including a "campus free speech" bill, she's prepared to fight for this week.
One controversial bill on the table this week includes a committee-revised school finance bill. An amendment was added that would allow some special education students access to vouchers. Still, some say it could open the door for a broader voucher program.
"It was looking like a great bill until they added a voucher provision, and now that has a lot of us unable to support it," said Menendez.
Another amended bill that's causing some controversy this week would allow pharmacists to refuse service based on religious beliefs.
Meanwhile a texting while driving ban bill that easily made it through the House months ago, has yet to reach the Senate floor. It was left pending in a Senate Committee hearing Monday morning.