Huberty Amendment to Appropriate Money for Dredging Mouth Bar Passes First of Six Hurdles Today

Five days ago, State Representative Dan Huberty offered an amendment to Senate Bill 500 (SB500). SB500 is the omnibus Senate appropriations bill making its way through the House. It contains appropriations for everything from health care to education to criminal justice and highways and more.

Texas Capitol Building in Austin from the South Grounds

Huberty filed his amendment last week. Below are the steps required for ultimate passage of SB500 and Huberty’s amendment.

First of Three Readings

Each bill passing through the Texas House or Senate goes through three “readings.” The first reading happened when SB500 arrived in the House. House members got their first chance to read the bill in its final form as amended by the Senate.

After the first reading, House members could file amendments of their own. They voted on amendments in the second reading. Tomorrow, if the House follows procedures, all members will get a chance to vote on the SB500, as amended by the House. It’s rare that a non-controversial spending bill like this would be voted down during the third reading. Regardless, tomorrow is the Huberty amendment’s SECOND major hurdle.

Conference Committee Next if Bill Approved

Because differences now exist between the House and Senate versions of the bill, the bill will go to a “conference committee.”

The conference committee will then try to reconcile, compromise on or accept differences in the bills approved by the Senate and House. Surviving the conference committee represents the THIRD major hurdle.

Re-Votes in House and Senate, Then On to Governor

Assuming the amendment is still alive at that point, the conference committee version will go back to both chambers for a final vote. According to rules of the Texas Legislature, the final vote on a conference committee bill must be straight YEA or NAY. Amendments may no longer be offered. Those votes in the House and Senate will represent the FOURTH and FIFTH hurdles.

Obtaining the governor’s signature will be SIXTH.

Next Steps

Next stops:

  • Final vote in the House on March 28
  • Conference committee
  • Re-votes on revised bill in House and Senate
  • Governor’s desk
  • Mouth Bar!

Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/27/2019

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