Texas lawmakers work on high-priority bills as last day of session looms

Texas Capitol Building. (CBS Austin)

Lawmakers are planning to spend the weekend at the Capitol to continue working on high-priority bills. The last day of the regular session is Memorial Day.

After postponing a vote Thursday, House members were set to debate and vote on Senate Bill 2, a property tax reform bill, Friday. Instead, the bill was sent briefly back to committee over a point of order.

The bill will head back to the calendar committee prior to being re-scheduled for a floor vote. It could be Monday before it returns for a vote.

Representatives also spent a large part of the day debating Senate Bill 8. SB 8 would require fetal remains be buried or cremated, and not be donated for research.

Amendments to the bill would also ban certain types of abortions, including dilation and evacuation abortions performed in the second trimester of pregnancy.

Anti-abortion lawmakers refer to that type of abortion in the legislation as "dismemberment abortions."

Democrats in the House attempted to add amendments to the bill which would make exceptions for rape, incest, or life-threatening emergencies. All of those amendments failed in the Republican led House.

Opponents of SB 8 say it will not stop abortions, rather make those who find other ways to get them, unsafe.

Other lawmakers pointed to medical research that shows the type of abortion SB 8 would ban is the safest second trimester procedure for the mother.

Rep. Donna Howard, District 48 (D-Austin), stood at the podium with a half dozen female lawmakers, showing their opposition. She said while she is a mother and does not necessarily like the idea of abortions, she thinks women in desperate situations deserve a choice.

"I'm sorry that this happens sometimes," said Howard. "I wish that it didn't. Our changing this law will not make it go away, it will just make it unsafe."