AUSTIN, TX — The second special session of the Texas Legislature began Saturday in Austin.
The agenda from Governor Abbott includes a familiar list of bills--election regulations, bail reform, and critical race theory to name a few. While the Senate had a quorum on Saturday, the House did not, leaving the future of all of that legislation up in the air.
The Senate's first order of business was approving a resolution that would speed up the process of passing legislation. It removes the requirement for committees to hold public hearings on House bills that have similar content to Senate bills that already had hearings.
"This offers maximum flexibility so that the work of the people, that has been impeded over a period of time now, can get accomplished," said author of the resolution, Republican State Senator from District 20, Charles Schwertner.
Democratic Senator Roland Gutierrez of District 19 criticized the move, saying it defies due process.
"Even if it has four or five different amendments or issues on the same subject, we're not gonna have a hearing. And that's a big, big concern for me," Gutierrez said.
One of the big questions left to be answered by the second session is if the standoff between the two parties will come to an end.
"I enjoy being here, fighting for good causes and being sure that we're doing good things for all Texans," Gutierrez said. "But unfortunately, not so sure that that's happening this special session."
Across the aisle, Republicans aren't happy with the state of the Legislature either. Chairman of the McLennan County Republicans, Dr. Bradford Holland, said Texans are tired of what he calls "delay tactics".
"People are ready for the work of Texas to get done," Holland said.
Today was just the beginning of another 30-day stretch as neither party shows any sign of giving up.
"At some point, it's unfortunate, but the other side does have the numbers. And we're gonna have to fight the good fight," Gutierrez said.
"I think we're all ready for them to find some end to this standoff," Holland said. "I do think, frankly, from my standpoint, it requires the Democrats to at least show up."
Both chambers plan to reconvene on Monday. It is not clear if or when the Democratic representatives will return to the the Capitol after leaving for Washington, D.C. last month.