There was much chuckling and chatter at the Texas Capitol following the release of Texas Monthly’s cover story featuring Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick holding the gavel standing over the words “In Charge.”
One recurring reaction went something like this: “Maybe the magazine should have done a vote count on Patrick’s priority bills before making that assertion.”
So far, it does not seem Patrick has sufficient support in the Texas Senate to bring school vouchers or the “bathroom bill” to the floor. Of course, there’s plenty of time in the session for Patrick to work the senators and get enough of them on board for either or both of those key pieces of legislation.
But the question of whether Patrick can round up the votes for those bills isn’t what determines his dominance at the Capitol. No, instead it’s the fact that Gov. Greg Abbott leaves a void Patrick is more than happy to fill.
Prime example: This week on the Trey Ware Radio Show on KTSA in San Antonio, Patrick answered a question on Abbott’s behalf that the Capitol Press Corps has been diligently trying to get the governor to answer: Whether he supports Senate Bill 6.
“Of your state leaders, only the speaker has not said he’s in favor of this at this point,” Patrick said. “So, you’ve got the governor, the attorney general, myself, we have fifteen sponsors of the bill in the senate,” Patrick said, adding that he thinks it will be passed out of the upper chamber in the next few weeks.
Here is audio of Patrick on the Trey Ware Show.
When asked by Quorum Report if Patrick is speaking for the governor, there was no response from either of their offices.
Speaker Joe Straus has publicly asked for Gov. Abbott’s input. At the Texas Association of Business Conference back in January, Straus said “the governor’s opinion on this can make a big difference too.”
To date, Abbott has made no public statements supporting or opposing Senate Bill 6. Maybe he privately told Patrick he supports it. Always possible.
What Abbott did say on Fox News Channel last week is that the NFL should stay out of the debate. When pressed about whether SB 6 will become Texas law, Abbott took a pass on that and instead lectured the folks who run Texans’ favorite professional sport.
“We’re early in the session. We don’t have any idea whether or not it’s going to pass or not,” Abbott said in the TV interview that you can see here. “All I’m trying to say is the NFL has no business whatsoever trying to get into the politics of various states. The NFL has its own problems that it must fix,” Abbott said.
Copyright February 23, 2017, Harvey Kronberg, www.quorumreport.com, All rights are reserved. Reprinted with permission.