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Texas pushes ahead with 'bathroom bill' as others shy away

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Texas Tribune talks possibility of a special session

"We shared with him a lot of concerns we had about where the Senate plan has been and where we feel like there were real advantages of going with the bipartisan House bill", said Armstead, R-Kanawha. Some of this year's most controversial subjects - the "bathroom bill", voter ID overhaul, property tax reform and the sunset safety net bill - are still winding their way through the legislative process.

The Senate bill also would raise the corporate net income tax from 6.5 to 7 percent, something else Cowles faulted.

Straus said Friday that the House will not appoint conferees to meet with the Senate on SB 2078, saying Patrick could accept the House version as is. "On the issue of bathrooms, the House is availing itself of the same option".

The House of Delegates refused to concur with the Senate's changes to HB 107.

"The House approved language last Sunday night that required schools to make private accommodations for students who want them", Straus said Friday at a brief press conference after the House adjourned for the day.

"If you take that bill and you send it back with a half billion [dollars], it results in cuts because of the formula changes we made", Bernal says.

The 95-54 vote followed a six-hour debate that saw fierce pushback from Democrats, who argued the legislation wouldn't go far enough to expand ballot access and contains provisions that might discourage some Texans from going to the polls.

The Lieutenant Governor called a news conference after the Speaker held his.

However, he offered: "We will approach these discussions with a willingness to work together to avoid a government shutdown".

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said he wanted to require maternity coverage and beef up federal aid to help states curb premium increases for people with pre-existing conditions.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and some GOP senators, though, have strongly opposed any use of rainy-day dollars for "ongoing expenses".

"The problem is, it's putting every school district in our state in a state of flux", said Rep. Tim Hodge, D-North Newton, voting against a bill he termed "unconstitutional".

"We're seeing senators across the ideological spectrum working to try to get to yes", Senator Ted Cruz said.

North Carolina earlier this year repealed part of its bathroom bill, prompting the NCAA to end its boycott of scheduling college championship events in the state.

Despite the tremendous economic repercussions of North Carolina's transphobic "bathroom bill", Texas is doing its best to push a version of that legislation forward. This will also give us time to bring those ideas back to the citizens we represent and gain their input.

The bill is expected to go to state House Thursday for a vote.

The Texas House passed Senate Bill 8, the pro-life legislation that bans the procedure of partial-birth abortions, dismemberment abortion, and prohibits the sale of fetal tissues and organs late last week.

"I do not believe the funding is sufficient", Terrell said.

Patrick also declared, "We will be in a special session caused by Joe Straus himself".

But Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday said he hopes that legislators will still be able to form some kind of plan to pass one of the bills.

Unlike the Senate plan, the House proposal leaves out any major cuts to the Department of Public Instruction.

Negotiations among Gov. Jim Justice and lawmakers over a state budget plan wrapped up for the holiday weekend, with both sides planning to return to negotiations this coming Wednesday.

Straus said the House planned to discuss property tax relief Saturday.

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