Patrick has Senate on fast track


Quick passage of bills, property tax relief are his primary goals

AUSTIN – Armed with what he sees as a conservative mandate from Texas voters, and pledging to quickly move on his campaign agenda, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says the Senate intends to take the unusual step of passing and sending major bills to the House just two months after the start of the legislative session.

That could include highly controversial subjects such as guns on college campuses, open carry and school choice, and would break a long-standing Capitol tradition of leaving the passage of hot-button legislation until late in the session.

In his first sit-down interview since he took office Jan. 20, Patrick said he intends to stand firm on significantly reducing taxes for property owners and businesses, even if that means a special legislative session next summer.

“This election was significant,” Patrick told the Houston Chronicle. “If my message was clear, the people’s message was even more clear: ‘We want change. We want these things done. We didn’t elect Dan Patrick to go in and play slow ball and maintain the status quo.'”

He said that means the 31-member Senate will move quickly to pass and send significant legislation to the House just 60 days into the legislative session, the earliest opportunity to do so.

“My goal is very clear: Tee up as much legislation as we can, send it to the House as quickly as we can and be ready to take House bills,” Patrick said, confirming a strategy that some lawmakers predict could trigger a political showdown between the two chambers.

“We’re moving quickly to get a budget, yes,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Jane Nelson told reporters, as her committee continued work on the next two-year budget – weeks ahead of the usual Senate schedule in recent years.

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