As the 140 days of the regular session draw near an end, a variety of deadlines, rules, and legislative procedures begin to play a larger role in the legislative process. 
 
Deadlines
With just three weeks remaining in the session, a series of deadlines will begin to affect the legislative process.   The end of session deadlines are set in the House and Senate rules. 

This week, Thursday May 12 is the last day for the House to consider second reading House bills and House joint resolutions on the Daily or Supplemental Calendar; Friday, May 13 is the last day for the House to consider consent House Bills on second reading and all third reading House bills and House joint resolutions on the supplemental calendar.
 
The month of May includes so many dates of interest that the Texas Legislative Council has prepared a calendar showing deadlines for action under the House and Senate rules.

Other significant dates and deadlines can be found on the Texas Legislative Council's Dates of Interest page.
 
Exceptional votes
While many issues are decided in the Legislature by a simple majority vote, the Texas Constitution and the House and Senate rules include provisions for situations which require a supermajority. Exceptional votes  may require approval by a certain fraction of the members present and voting on a particular question or it may require approval by a portion of all members eligible to vote, whether or not they are present.
 
Some of the issues which require approval by a supermajority include:
 
Three-fifths of members present and voting
  • Appropriate amounts from the Economic Stabilization Fund for previous purpose during the current biennium Constitution III, § 49-g(k)
  • Appropriate amounts from the Economic Stabilization Fund for the succeeding biennium when the revenue estimate is lower than the revenue estimate for the prior biennium Constitution III, § 49-g(l)

Two-thirds of members present and voting

Two-thirds of members qualified
 
Four-fifths of members present and voting

Four-fifths of Members qualified
 
Consult the Texas Constitution and the House and Senate rules for more information on exceptional votes. Article XVI of the Senate rules includes a list of votes required to adopt motions; a chart summarizing these requirements is included in the Senate Research Center's Legislative Lexicon
 
Blocker bills and the 2/3 rule
The use of a blocker bill is a tradition in the Texas Senate. Blocker bills are bills that are introduced and passed out of committee as early as possible in a legislative session in order that they may occupy the first position on the calendar.
 
The blocker bills for the 82nd R.S. are SB 445 and SJR 18.
 
Senate rule 5.13 provides: "No bill, joint resolution, or resolution affecting state policy may be considered out of its regular calendar order unless the regular order is suspended by a vote of two-thirds of the members present."
 
With a blocker bill at the top of the regular order of business, at least two-thirds of the senators present must vote to begin debating a measure before it can come to the floor.  Bills that do not enjoy substantial support cannot make it past the blocker bill.   

Wednesday and Thursday are designated House bill days in the Senate and on these days a House bill is found at the top of the calendar; there is no permanent blocker bill for House bills on a House bill day. The Senate may continue to bring bills up for consideration out of the regular order of business, in which case the House bill at the top of the calendar may serve as a temporary blocker bill for House bills.  If the House bill at the top of the calendar comes up for consideration during the course of the day, the next bill on the calendar may in turn be treated as a blocker bill.