Today, the Texas Senate took extraordinary action to suspend numerous rules to file, hear, and pass a bill on electricity repricing in the wake of last month’s historic winter storm. All of this happened within scarcely more than a few minutes time, days after the bill filing deadline had passed. There was neither public notice nor a public hearing as those terms would be reasonably understood by the average citizen.

Regardless of the merits of legislation under consideration, this is not how laws should be enacted. Even during extraordinary times (and perhaps especially during extraordinary times) legislators should adhere to an open and transparent process which allows adequate time for bills to be read, provides reasonable public notice, and requires open hearings with public testimony prior to consideration before the full chamber.

Legislators should not rush a bill through the process in haste and relative secrecy as was done today with SB 2142. This sets a dangerous precedent allowing for any declared emergency to serve as a pretext for passing laws without proper public oversight. Texans of all political persuasions should be deeply concerned when any bill is passed in this manner.

Posted March 15, 2021 by Nathanael Ferguson