This Week in Texas: June 2, 2021

Posted June 2, 2021 in The Mignon Memo

Allow us to share a few moments from the 87th Legislative Session, which ended on Monday, May 31st

On January 12th, the House voted 143-2 to name Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) as the new Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.

As the first order of business, the Texas House and Senate each approved their own rules for how to govern during the coronavirus pandemic, which included requiring masks and testing negative for Covid-19 daily to enter the chamber.

For the public, this meant getting tested to testify in committee hearings and wearings masks, and maintaining social distancing guidelines.

On February 13, Winter Storm Uri moved into Texas, causing millions of people to lose electricity, water, access to groceries, and internet for several days.

The Texas House and Senate acted swiftly and held multiple legislative hearings over a period of weeks to get answers from top officials and draft legislation to address the mistakes made and damage caused by the storm. ERCOT and the electricity market consumed policy discussions for several months

By early May, emotions at the Capitol were running high as lawmakers debated hot button issues. One such bill, SB 8 by Sen. Hughes (R-Mineola) and Rep. Slawson (R-Stephenville), would ban abortion procedures as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Gov. Abbott signed this bill into law on May 19th.

On May 30th, with less than 24 hours left in the 87th legislative session, the Texas House was debating SB 7, which would overhaul the voting process in the state.

With an hour left for the Legislature to give final approval to the bill, House Democrats staged a walkout, preventing a vote on the legislation before a session-ending midnight deadline.

“We will be back — when, I don’t know, but we will be back,” House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, told members from the speaker’s dais. “There’s a lot of work to be done, but I look forward to doing it with every single one of you.”

Talk of a special session — and questions about how soon one may happen or what additional issues Gov. Greg Abbott could task legislators with — has largely defined the last weekend of the Legislature’s 140-day stretch.

All we can say right now is, stay tuned…