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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick leads Texas Senate vote letting GOP bring bills to floor without Dem support

Posted By on Thu, Jan 14, 2021 at 10:11 AM

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick led a vote to lower the "supermajority" threshold in the Texas Senate. - TWIITER / DANPATRICK
  • Twiiter / DanPatrick
  • Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick led a vote to lower the "supermajority" threshold in the Texas Senate.
As he's threatened to do, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick led Republicans in the Texas Senate to alter its procedural rules, derailing Democrats’ ability to block legislation in the GOP-controlled upper chamber.

In a 18-13 vote Wednesday that split along party lines, state senators lowered the threshold needed to move legislation to a floor vote.

Previously, the body required a three-fifths supermajority — or 19 votes — to bring bills to the floor. However, the election of Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, in November dropped the number of Republicans in the Senate to 18.

Having a supermajority in the body previously allowed Patrick and other conservatives to push forward controversial culture-war legislation such as his widely derided bathroom bill, which sought to punish transgender residents.

"Texans reaffirmed in the 2020 election that they support conservative candidates and conservative policies, and I am committed to again moving a conservative agenda forward," Patrick said in a statement in December.

In comments to the media, Democrats warned that Wednesday's procedural change amounts to a power grab that reduces the Senate's role as a deliberative body and allows the majority party to bypass compromise.

“I fear that we are on a path that is taking us to Washington, D.C., and a toxic environment," state Sen. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus, told the Texas Tribune.

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