The first serious spat between House and Senate leadership occurred Tuesday afternoon when House Speaker Dade Phelan informed Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that the House would not take up SB 2142, despite Patrick's extraordinary efforts to pass the bill through the Senate Jurisprudence Committee and the full Senate in a single day this week.
Though not related to education issues, it is important for those interested in Capitol goings-on to be aware of the dynamics between the House and Senate. A "cold war" that erodes cooperation between the two chambers could seriously stifle the number and type of bills that pass this session.
SB 2142, by Sen. Bryan Hughes, was considered in committee and on the Senate floor in quick succession on Monday, with the help of a series of parliamentary maneuvers. The bill would require the Public Utility Commission to reverse $16 billion in electricity charges during the February winter storm.
Phelan released a statement that the charges were not an error, but a proactive decision that saved lives by ensuring the reliability of the grid at a time when circumstances were not yet stable. He noted that there are seven bills in the House to address mistakes made during the storm, but that the Senate bill would not even be considered.