The Texas Senate could take up and consider the smoke-free workplace law as soon as today. A version of this bill was passed from the Texas House during the Regular Session but was defeated by a Senate panel in the final hours of the session.
The Special Session has given new life to this issue but the clock is ticking – the Special Session can’t go past next Wednesday. In short, we need the Senate to pass this measure today for a realistic chance of it becoming law.
You can click here to email Texas lawmakers asking them to support smoke-free workplaces.
If it is passed by the Senate today, it would still need to clear the House. I will be providing updates here throughout the day and will live blog if there is debate on the smoke-free bill.
Update: 9:50 am
The Senate goes in at 2pm today, so nothing will happen before then. On Monday the Senate Health and Human Services committee passed the bill 5-4. The 5 YES votes were:
Chair Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound)
Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso)
Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio)
Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas)
Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo)
The 4 No votes were:
Sen. Robert Deuell (R-Greenville)
Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Southside Place)
Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville)
Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston)
Update 2:17 pm
Senate should convene soon. We've heard the bill concerning the Texas Windstorm Insurance Agency could come up, but the Smoke-Free bill could also come up. We are in wait and see mode. If you're by a TV in Austin you can watch it on channel 22 (Time Warner Cable). If you have Grande or another provider just try all of the local community access channels.
Or stream it from here: http://www.senate.state.tx.us/bin/live.php
Update 3:35 pm
Senator Carona is laying out his TWIA bill which will reform the Texas Windstorm Insurance Agency. This issue is one of the primary reasons for the Special Session.
We have heard several Senators that support Smoke-Free Texas are not in Austin today, making a vote on smoke-free less likely today.
Update 4:05 pm
Several Senators have officially been excused from today's session due to important business in their district. It’s important that this bill be heard and voted on by a majority of Senators so the question will not be called today.
This severely weakens the chance of passing the smoke-free bill during this special session. There is still a chance it could come up at the end of the week or over the weekend so stay tuned to this blog and sign up to get breaking news alerts here: http://www.yourethecure.org/.