Texas Senate approves sunset bill with early-morning vote

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Senate approved sunset legislation during a vote early Thursday morning, meaning the Texas Medical Board and four other health licensing agencies would continue to receive funding after Sept. 1.

State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, said the early-morning vote was essential to complete work in the 30-day special session.

"By doing this session early in the day, by taking these votes, the administrative units can go ahead and start releasing the paperwork to have the hearings all in place," Bettencourt said. "The key thing is we didn’t change the public-posting rule, which is you have to give 24-hour notice of a hearing."

Immediately after the vote, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent a message to senators outlining 19 other priorities he wants addressed during this session.

State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, said after passing the sunset legislation the time spent at the Capitol is a waste.

"From my perspective, we can save the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars by not spending additional time after passage of the required sunset bill that keeps the medical examiners operating," Whitmire said. "Quite frankly, the state is running real well without the other 19 items that have now been introduced under the call."

The Texas House is expected to meet at 10 a.m. Thursday. However, a vote on the sunset legislation is not expected before Monday.

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