Jun 29, 2017
Is Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick really the Conservative North Star of Texas Politics?
That's what a confidant, Houston Sen. Paul Bettencourt, told a group of pastors, explaining that the Senate's presiding officer "doesn't change. He doesn't move. Every night, you get up and he's right there."
Bettencourt was explaining how the solidly conservative Senate will again pass the controversial bathroom bill during an upcoming special legislative session, despite opposition in the House, as he predicted the clubby Senate will pass all 20 of Gov. Greg Abbott's priorities within the first 10 days they are in session.
Ironically, David Dewhurst, a Republican incumbent who Patrick unseated two years ago, thought he was a North Star in the Senate, comments that drew laughter from some at the statehouse.
No yuks about the Patrick crack, so far.
Abbott has announced he will call the Lege back for a special session starting July 18 to finish business they left undone during the regular session that ended in May.
On the agenda: Laws that would block cities from regulating tree-cutting on private property, a move that Austin Mayor Steve Adler is openly mocking.
At one public rally, Adler applauded the Legislature for Abbott for focusing on school finance reform, a most important issue for Texans, in the special session. No wait, he said, I'm wrong ... it's trees they're more interested in.
Just as the bathroom bill promises to be contentions in the special session, so do a number of other laws the Lege enacted during the regular session -- starting with Senate Bill 4, the ban on sanctuary cities that is tied up already in court.
Ironically, as protests grow in Texas to the ban and as Abbott takes to Snapchat to deflect the complaints as baseless that it will punish Hispanic Texas families, similar legislation before the U.S. House is causing quite a stir in Washington.
We've got all the lowdown on the political meltdowns in both Washington and Texas in this week's Texas Take, where you get the inside scoop in unvarnished, straight talk that every Texan can understand.
From Mike Ward, the Chronicle's Austin Bureau chief, and Scott Braddock, editor of the Quorum Report, comes Texas' leading online podcast about Lone Star politics.