Friday, January 24, 2020

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Threatens to Change Rules for Legislation if Democrats Win More Senate Seats

Posted By on Fri, Jan 24, 2020 at 2:15 PM

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he's considering lowering the "supermajority" threshold in the Texas Senate. - TWIITER / DANPATRICK
  • Twiiter / DanPatrick
  • Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he's considering lowering the "supermajority" threshold in the Texas Senate.
If Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick isn't able to dominate the game, apparently he'll just change the rules.

The architect of Texas' failed bathroom bill said Thursday that if the GOP loses one or more Texas Senate seats in November, he'll drop the threshold needed to push bills to a floor vote, the Texas Tribune reports. He made the comment at a conservative policy conference in Austin.

Currently, Republicans have the 19-vote "supermajority" required to move legislation to the floor for passage. However, there's a possibility they could lose that ability if Sen. Pete Flores, R-Pleasanton, or other vulnerable GOP senators can't hang onto their seats in what's likely to be high-turnout election.

"I'm right there at that number, and if we lose one or two seats, then we might have to go to 16 next session," Patrick said. "We might have to go to a simple majority because we will not be stopped in leading on federalism in the United States of America."

After Patrick was elected lieutenant governor in 2015, the Senate dropped its long-standing 21-vote threshold to 19, empowering him to force through a slate of divisive measures — such as the bathroom bill — that played to social conservatives. He would only need a simple majority vote to change the rules again at the start of the next session, according to chamber rules.

Democratic pushback to Patrick's threat came quickly.

“The Texas Capitol belongs to all the people of our great state. The rules of the Senate are there for a reason — to protect the interests of all Texans from right-wing extremist legislation and create a deliberative body," Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Manny Garcia said in a statement.

“To threaten to change the rules as more Democrats get elected is yet another example of Republicans circumventing Texans and jamming through unpopular Republican legislation that harms Texas families."

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