The Texas House and Senate reconvened today after being adjourned for nearly two weeks.
At least two House members have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the beginning of the session, and concern about the pandemic is undoubtedly affecting the normal ways of conducting business at the Capitol. In a typical year the legislature might meet more often in the early days of the session, but lawmakers do not usually consider important business in the first several weeks.
In a short discussion during the Senate session, Sen. Jose Menendez thanked Lt. Gov. Patrick for his recent letter to the Expert Vaccination Allocation Panel urging the group to improve the vaccination distribution system. Patrick suggests breaking down the current "1B" group to first vaccinate those 75 and older, then to target teachers and school staff over 65. Menendez, who has been a champion for school employees and students throughout the COVID-19 crisis lamented that the state had not been prioritizing teachers and other school employees.
Lt. Gov. Patrick has referred SB 1 – the Senate’s base budget bill – to the Senate Finance Committee, which means that committee hearings may begin soon.
The Senate adjourned until Feb. 9.
The House met for less than 8 minutes but will reconvene on Wednesday (and is expected then to also adjourn until Feb. 9). Members are being asked to submit their committee preferences to the Speaker by tomorrow.
The Governor’s State of the State address will be broadcast Monday evening (Feb. 1), eliminating the need for the House and Senate to meet jointly to hear his remarks in person, as has been the custom.