It took Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick no time at all to get his wish as the man who runs the Texas Senate.
The Republican super-majority that now comprises the 31-member legislative body has done away with the two-thirds rule.
As Texas Monthly blogger/editor Paul Burka notes, it signals the end of “adult behavior” in the Legislature’s upper chamber.
Here’s what Burka wrote: “The death of the two-thirds rule was inevitable from the moment that Dan Patrick defeated David Dewhurst in the primary. Patrick has always opposed the rule, even before he became a senator. The Democrats’ reduced strength in the Senate made it all but impossible for the remaining members of their party to muster the ability to fend off the majority (one Democrat, Eddie Lucio Jr., joined the Republicans in the vote).
“I have always been a fan of the two-thirds rule because it gave the minority a fighting chance to take on the majority and it required a level of bridge-building and consensus to pass legislation. On a more basic level, it imposed ‘adult behavior on people who might be otherwise inclined.’ Unfortunately for the Democrats, their party just doesn’t have the numbers to fend off the majority, so Patrick doesn’t have to worry about bridge-building, consensus, or adult behavior as the presiding officer.”
The only party crossover vote was Lucio, according to Burka, who made no mention of whether Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, crossed over to the other side to preserve the two-thirds rule — which Seliger has said repeatedly that he favors.
I’m guessing Seliger sided with his GOP brethren to show unity among the ranks.
This tradition has lasted through the decades as lieutenant governors of both parties have honored the rule of requiring two-thirds of senators to approve of a bill before sending it to the floor for a vote.
Patrick laid down his marker early in his 2014 campaign by declaring that a simple majority of Republicans ought to be enough to decide the fate of any Senate bill.
Bridge-building between the parties? Who needs it? Lt. Gov. Patrick got his way.
Now the fun can really begin.