AUSTIN – How does the longest-serving state senator describe the legislature productivity this session with less than 72 hours to go?
“It is what it is, at this stage,” said State Senator John Whitmire.
The legislative session at the Capitol comes to a close on Monday and the power supply system in Texas is as vulnerable as ever.
“I think it’s very disappointing. It should be disappointing for all Texans,” said State Representative Gene Wu.
Elected officials spoke on making the power grid a top priority in the aftermath of one of the state’s deadliest and costliest storms this past February. A week following the storm, promises of change were made to Texans.
Lisa Carter out of Sienna one of those paying close attention.
“Do not let this happen to the state of Texas again,” said Carter in a message to lawmakers last month.
However, so far no law is on the books requiring plants to have enhanced insulation and protection of equipment. Experts told KPRC 2 Investigates that mandatory winter insulation could have prevented the severity of storm damage.
“The Senate passed bills like that on ERCOT and also on PUC problems,” said State Senator Paul Bettencourt.
The submission of emergency plans a key focus in bills passed. However, nothing when it comes to mandatory insulation.
“I can honestly tell your viewers that we are no better prepared today for the next winter storm than we were in February,” said Whitmire.
When asked if it’s indefensible with days left in the session?
Whitmire said: “Sure. It’s unfortunate.”
At this point, a special session is not scheduled, but lawmakers say there is potential for a session in September.
Whether or not the state’s power system will be part of a special session, one Houston-area lawmaker listed the possibility at “50/50.”
Here is a breakdown of the key bills from the Texas 2021 legislative session: