A long list of House bills died Thursday when the clock struck midnight long before the House was able to get through its 21-page calendar. Among the casualties was a “Sunset safety bill” that doesn’t directly involve education issues but could have a serious impact on the session.

The Sunset process is an in-depth review of state agencies (generally each agency is reviewed every 12 years) and it is structured so that, at least in theory, the agency would be abolished if the Sunset legislation were not passed. However, every session lawmakers file a safety bill that typically does not delve into the policy issues but simply extends the Sunset date by two or more years. An agency up for Sunset review must either have its specific Sunset legislation pass or at least be included in the safety bill. If neither of those passes, the agency may be abolished, so a special session could be called in order to avoid that outcome. (A safety bill was also filed in the Senate, but to date has not been moving through the process.)

We do not have information on how budget negotiations are going, but failure to pass a budget (SB 1) would also force a special session. Governor Greg Abbott has control over whether and when a special session might be called, and what the content would be (i.e., whether only the budget will be considered or other items would be on the agenda).