By Associated Press - Thursday, July 20, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Latest on the Texas Senate hustling to pass bills in the first week of the special legislative session (all times local):

12:35 p.m.

Texas’ largest business lobbying group is announcing a radio campaign opposing a North Carolina-style “bathroom bill” being revived in the Legislature.

The Texas Association of Business says its “seven-figure” media buy hopes to thwart a proposal requiring transgender people to use public restrooms according to the gender on their birth certificates.

The Association has for months opposed the bill as bad for business. It said Thursday that its passage “would result in terrible economic consequences.”

North Carolina partially repealed a similar law amid threats of costly boycotts.

Texas’ GOP-controlled Legislature has opened a special session, and the Senate plans to hear the bathroom bill in committee on Friday.

The bill stalled in the Texas House during the regular session, where lawmakers approved an unsuccessful, softer bill applying only to schools.


11 a.m.

The Texas Senate has concluded an unusual midnight floor session as a chamber dominated by the state’s most-conservative voices rushed to revive previously stalled legislation.

The session allows the chamber to take back up stricter abortion limits, school vouchers and a “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people.

Opponents decried Thursday’s move before opponents have time to again mobilize against divisive bills. But Senate leaders say there’s no reason for a Republican-controlled Legislature should to wait to pass GOP-backed priorities.

The Senate planned to ram divisive bills through committee and floor passage mere days into a month-long special session - even if it limits public input and legislative debate.

But that blistering pace doesn’t guarantee any will become law. The Texas House has preferred to move more slowly with plenty of time left.


12:35 a.m.

The Texas Senate has approved bills reauthorizing the Texas Medical Board and other state agencies whose operations were jeopardized by similar measures stalling in May.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick convened an unusual floor session after midnight Thursday for the move on just the third day of a special legislative session.

Patrick let the normally routine bills die during the regular session, forcing Gov. Greg Abbott to call lawmakers back to work so they could revive key conservative priorities.

Abbott has directed the Republican-controlled Legislature to tackle 20 major issues during the special session, including a previously stalled “bathroom bill” targeting transgender Texans.

But work couldn’t begin on anything else until the Senate passed the agency oversight bills, and Patrick’s chamber rushed to approve them.

Texas House approval is expected soon.

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