For the last few legislative sessions, the Texas Senate has had a vigorous debate over one of its longstanding and controversial rules. The "two-thirds" rule requires that a bill have the support of at least two-thirds of the Senate members before it is brought up for consideration on the Senate floor. With just enough Democrats in the Senate to block partisan bills, some Republicans have argued that the rule should be dropped. Four years ago, although the provision remained in Senate rules, new language was added to allow exceptions for certain bills (for example, a major bill addressing voter ID issues did not require a two-thirds vote for consideration).

The two-thirds rule has been helpful in the past in preventing consideration of harmful education legislation such as proposals to tie teacher appraisals to student test performance. Public education advocates have been concerned that elimination of the two-thirds rule (or a carved-out "exception") this session would allow a private school voucher bill or other harmful legislation to sail through the Senate.

But today the Senate voted 27-0 to keep the two-thirds rule, and even to eliminate the provision that allowed for special exceptions. It's worth noting that there are ways around the provision - for example, an amendment to a bill only requires a majority vote - but typically, the two-thirds rule has been effective.