A Note on Texas’ Quorum Requirements and Lt. Gov. Patrick’s Request for a Special Session Call

At first, I was a little confused by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s tweet asking that Gov. Greg Abbott add quorum requirements to the next special session call, thinking that quorum requirements might simply be subject to rules in each chamber, and in fact, those quorum requirements are in the house (pg. 85, Chapter A., Section 1) and senate rules (pg. 17, Rule 5.02). However, Texas’ Constitution, Article 3, Section 10, states:

Two-thirds of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties as each House may provide.

Therefore, the ask/prod from Patrick for the special session call. Should the Governor appease Patrick, the house, absent Democrats, would still fail to make a quorum to take up the necessary joint resolution. But should the Democrats return at some point, amending the constitution would require a 2/3rds majority according to Article 17 of the Texas Constitution (and the Democrats, with 67 members in the House, would, presumably, defeat it).

(Note: I’m neither a parliamentarian, lawyer, or constitutional expert, so if anyone reading this feels it needs correcting, please shoot me an email with the correction and a source and I’ll be more than happy to update it. Thanks!)