WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — We’re closing in on the end of yet another legislative session in Austin as lawmakers rush to get their priority bills passed through both chambers.
Texoma lawmakers said there are still some loose ends to tie up in very little time.
From the pandemic to historic winter storms, Texas lawmakers arrived in Austin ready to expect the unexpected.
“It went very fast and we were focusing on things that we traditionally don’t focus on,” District 30 State Sen. Drew Springer said.
“Very little is actually finished right now, there’s still a lot of negotiating between the House and the Senate,” District 69 State Rep. James Frank said. “A lot of stuff is 95% done and we think is gonna be done.”
Frank is a veteran in the Texas House, Springer a Freshman in the Senate, and District 68 State Rep. David Spiller entered his first legislature late after winning a special election to replace Springer.
“I’m very pleased, I’ve been involved in Eminent domain which really people haven’t talked about, but I’ve been involved in that through my committee and also working with stakeholders there,” Spiller said.
“So I’m pleased to say that I think we have an agreement on that among everyone and that’ll be good for landowners and still good for critical industry as well.”
November 2020 brought with it concerns of election fraud and February 2021, winter storms showing the state power grid’s vulnerability to winter weather. Springer, Frank, and Spiller set out to address both issues.
“We have PUC and ERCOT reform bills that we are working on to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” Springer said. “I think we’ll get the conference committee and come back with one that lets people know that our elections are going to be consistent across the state of Texas and they’re also going to be secure so when you cast a vote you don’t have to worry about it being offset by a fraudulent vote.”
While the House and Senate butt heads on getting some bills passed, the budget is a different story.
“It’s kinda funny, sometimes you don’t talk about the stuff that’s been mostly agreed to,” Frank said. “Really the Senate and the House have a real solid budget especially during a pandemic.”
Some bills mattering most to these three’s constituents, constitutional carry, the heartbeat bill, rural broadband access, and insurance reform are close to complete.
Still, a priority is limiting the Governors’ executive powers.
“That is still one of those outstanding items that there has not been an agreement between the House and the Senate, I think we’ve had a great session, I will tell you I will be extremely frustrated and disappointed if we don’t end up agreeing on something,” Frank said.
“I think it is very much needed and right now 11 days out I don’t know that there’s going to be an agreement, but I hope and pray that we do get an agreement, but I’m getting a little bit worried.”
“We’ve got a short amount of time frankly within which to get some of these things worked out,” Spiller said. “I’m hopeful and I’m optimistic that we can and hopefully if everybody works hard we can get that done together.”
A legislature on the home stretch with these lawmakers holding out hope the last days go in their favor.
May 31st marks the 140th day, and the last day, of the 87th Legislature.