Sunday, May 16, 2021

Texas Constitutional Carry to go to Conference Committee, Future in Doubt

Texas House, 12 May, 2021, Screen shot from live feed, cropped and scaled by Dean Weingarten


On Wednesday, 12 May, 2021, HB1927 came back from the Texas Senate to the House. The House had passed the bill with a good margin. Governor Abbot said he would sign the bill. The Senate just barely passed the bill, but included eight amendments. 

The question was: Would the House accept the amendments, and send the bill to the Governor's desk for signature, or would the House send the bill to a conference committee. The conference committee could work out a compromise with the House. If they did, then the bill would have to go back to the Senate and the House for approval.

The Democrats in the House raised a point of order, claiming the amendment to HB 1927, which requires the state to create an online training course about gun carry and the law, fell outside the single issue rule, and was therefore illegal.

Legislation in Texas is supposed to address a single issue only. Naturally, what is a single issue is subject to interpretation. Several of the other seven amendments added in the House could as easily fail under the single issue rule. 

This correspondent is not in the Texas legislature. Representative Schaffer is. He is the House sponsor of the bill. Representative Schaffer came to the podium, asked the House to reject the Senate amendments, and send the HB 1927 to a conference committee.

It had been worked out behind the scenes. The House asked for a conference committee.

To this correspondent, it appeared the House was betting 90% of Constitutional Carry against a chance of gaining a few more percent toward a 100% bill.

Members of the House Conference Committee would be made up of five members who voted for HB 1927 in the House.  From

The House’s appointees to the proposed conference committee will be the bill’s author, Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), as well as Reps. Terry Canales (D-Edinburg), James White (R-Hillister), Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City), and Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) — all of whom supported the original House version.

It had appeared, if the House had accepted the Senate Amendments, it was a done deal. There is some question as to whether the point of order would be upheld. The point of order was withdrawn, and became moot when the House did not concur with the Senate amendments, and asked for a conference committee.

 The clock is ticking. There are only 17 days until the Texas legislature adjourns at the end of 31 May, 2021. 

If Lt Governor Dan Patrick wants this bill to pass, he needs to appoint a conference committee immediately, staffed with members in favor of the bill. They need to work out differences and put a compromise bill to both houses very quickly.

In conference committee, many things can happen. 

The bill can be delayed until it dies.

The Senate can reject the conference committee recommendations.

The House can reject the conference committee recommendations.

The two houses can agree to changes to the Senate amendments. 

If they do so, then the bill goes to Governor Abbott for signature.

This correspondent has seen many bills die at the last minute, when passage seemed imminent. 

Time will tell what will happen to HB 1927, the Texas Constitutional Carry bill.

Governor Abbott has said he will sign Constitutional Carry if it comes to his desk. 

©2021 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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