Patrick, who presides over the Senate, floated the idea in January, but until now, he has not spoken publicly about it since the November election. That's when his party lost its supermajority in the upper chamber with the reelection defeat of Sen. Pete Flores, R-Pleasanton.
"Texans reaffirmed in the 2020 election that they support conservative candidates and conservative policies and I am committed to again moving a conservative agenda forward," Patrick said in a statement.
Currently, Senate rules say 19 of the chamber's 31 members — three-fifths — must agree to call up a bill for debate. Patrick said in the statement that he is recommending lowering that threshold to 18 senators, aligning with the size of the GOP majority heading into the legislative session that begins next month.
Patrick already oversaw a decrease in the threshold during his first session as lieutenant governor in 2015. The Senate began that session by dropping the threshold from two-thirds, or 21 members, to three-fifths, or 19 members, at a time when there were 20 Republican senators.
In January, Patrick suggested lowering the threshold — to a simple majority, 16 members — if the GOP failed to hold on to its supermajority in the coming election. But in the weeks after Flores' loss, Patrick kept quiet about whether he would follow through on pushing the rule change.
Patrick doesn't unilaterally decide the threshold. Such a rule change would require a simple majority — 16 senators — to go into effect. And Patrick called on the candidates in an upcoming special election runoff to back the procedural tweak.Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.